Glenbard West's football team put a twist on the bend-but-don't-break defense.
The Hilltoppers bent and broke Lyons Twp.
Taking advantage of five turnovers -- including the recovery of two fumbles inside its 5-yard line -- Glenbard West rolled to a 49-7 West Suburban Silver victory over the Lions on a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon at Glen Ellyn's Duchon Field.
Glenbard West (3-0, 1-0) set the tone on the game's opening series when Nick Garland recovered a punt blocked by Nathan Marcus in the end zone for a quick touchdown. The Hilltoppers spent the rest of the game feasting on Lyons Twp. miscues.
The Lions fumbled the ball over to the Hilltoppers on consecutive plays at the end of the first quarter. Then at the end of the first half, Garland recovered a Lions fumble at Glenbard West's 3-yard line.
But that was nothing.
Late in the third quarter with the Lions (1-2, 0-1) at the Hilltoppers' 1-yard line, Tyler Dayton stripped the ball from a Lyons Twp. running back and dashed to midfield before the ball was punched out of his hands. Teammate Joe Marconi scooped it up and returned it the final 45 yards for the last touchdown of the day.
"It's a huge momentum killer for them," said Garland, who also helped the offensive line plow the way for 190 rushing yards. "Especially two turnovers on the goal line. And we had a touchdown late. That's huge."
The turnovers were extra frustrating considering the way the Lions and quarterback Zach Mahoney moved the ball. Lyons Twp. gained 265 of its 351 yards through the air as Mahoney completed 20 of 28 passes.
Northwestern-bound receiver Matt Harris caught 5 passes for 72 yards before leaving the game early in the third quarter when he took a wicked hit from Glenbard West safety Hayden Carlson.
Glenbard West scored its five offensive touchdowns on the ground -- two by Joe Zito and Scott Andrews, and a keeper by quarterback Henry Haeffner. Haeffner, however, balanced things out by completing 9 of 11 passes for 157 yards, including 6 catches for 103 yards by Marcus.
"We came into this game knowing we have a team that's special," Haeffner said. "We made plays and did what we had to do to win the game."
Now that Glenbard West has begun Silver play with a statement game, the Hilltoppers hit the road for a showdown at Hinsdale Central (3-0, 1-0), which scored an impressive win over Proviso West on Friday.
"That's a big game for us," said Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet. "It's good to get this one, but Hinsdale Central's another tough team."
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