Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch singled out his offensive line's performance during Friday night's DuPage Valley showdown against Glenbard East.
The play of Kyle Joyce, Jonathan Callaway, Richard Metzger, Ryan McCarthy, Francis Garcia and tight end Bryan Welch paved the way for a dominating running game that led to the Tigers scoring 35 unanswered points between the second and third quarters.
The end result was a 48-21 senior night victory for the Tigers in a game that was close the entire first half.
"We have a strong offensive line," Muhitch said. "We knew that Glenbard East had a prolific passing game and is a high-yardage yielding team offensively, so we knew we had to match that. We thought that our strength was the run game."
Glenbard East (1-7, 1-5) took its second lead of the game with 2:37 to go in the first half on a halfback pass from Dan Ryan to Mike Kjeldsen, giving the Rams a 14-7 lead.
From there the Tigers kicked their running game into high gear. Wheaton Warrenville South (4-4, 4-2) took the momentum back just before halftime when Jesse Padalik scored from 7 yards out to tie the game with 12 seconds left.
The score was set up two plays earlier when Brandon Adams converted a 22-yard run on fourth down from the Glenbard East 33-yard line.
The Tigers then reeled off four more touchdowns, all in the third quarter. The opening drive took only four plays before quarterback Ryan Graham scored on a keeper from 14 yards out.
After a three-and-out series by the Rams, Wheaton Warrenville South again needed only four plays to score, this time on a 33-yard run up the middle by Adams, giving his team a 28-14 lead.
The Tigers snuffed out a fake punt on the Rams' ensuing possession when Jacob Schultz batted away a pass from Glenbard East quarterback Joe Kotch.
Wheaton Warrenville South then needed only five plays before Adams ran 44 yards down the left sideline and into the end zone for a 35-14 lead.
Adams scored his third and final touchdown right before the end of the third quarter on a 25-yard run.
"Our offensive linemen are all returning starters and they opened up some pretty holes tonight," Adams said. "Coach said that we were going to keep running the ball and I just had to keep hitting the holes hard."
Kotch accounted for the majority of Glenbard East's yards, completing 28 of 44 pass attempts for 247 yards and a touchdown pass to Ryan in the first quarter. He also rushed for 23 yards on 13 carries.
"We were in a tight ballgame at 14-14 going into halftime, but we just didn't execute in the second half," Kotch said. "I don't know what happened. I can't explain it."