When the rain finally stopped and the sun peaked through the clouds just minutes after the final whistle Saturday afternoon in Glen Ellyn, it was as if the football gods had only been looking for another way to test Glenbard West.
The Hilltoppers (6-1, 5-0) persevered through a sometimes hard rain and the muddy field for a convincing 34-6 West Suburban Silver victory against Proviso West.
"Our defense and all is predicated on speed, so we feel like this slows us down tremendously," Hilltoppers coach Chad Hetlet said. "It's a great neutralizer for anybody. You want to play on a nice day. But we overcame it. We're used to playing in it, I guess. ... It's high school football and we don't have turf, so you have to deal with it from time to time."
Proviso West (2-5, 0-4) had a much harder time dealing with the sloppy conditions. The Panthers fumbled four times, and though they recovered all four, falling on the dropped football behind the line of scrimmage cost them dearly in yardage. The Hilltoppers never let Proviso West get its running game going, holding the Panthers to minus-39 yards rushing for the game, 110 yards of total offense.
"We had really good preparation," senior defensive lineman Connor Schrauth said. "(The coaches) prepared us really well for their offense."
"It was fun," added senior cornerback Pernevlon Sheppard, who had one of the Hilltoppers' 3 interceptions. "It was a lot of action going on. The DBs didn't have to worry about much on the run because our linebackers played tough up the middle. We just had to play good coverage."
Glenbard West opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 37-yard touchdown pass to receiver Luke Domask from quarterback Drew Vogg. Scott Andrews followed with touchdown runs of 1 and 6 yards for a 20-0 Hilltoppers lead in the second quarter.
Proviso West got its only touchdown on the kickoff return following Andrews' second TD, Byron Jackson taking the ball 93 yards for a touchdown.
"We had some penalties, and there were some jump balls (for Proviso West receptions), and I'm not happy with the kickoff return," Hetlet said. "I don't know that that's happened in seven years that we've been here as a staff. But other than that, yeah, we did well considering the circumstances."
The Proviso West touchdown did nothing to stop the Hilltoppers' momentum, however. They answered with a 65-yard drive that ended with Andrews scoring from 7 yards out with 34.9 seconds to play before halftime, giving Glenbard West a 27-6 lead at the break. Andrews finished with a team-best 115 yards rushing on 21 carries.
The offenses struggled even more in the second half, with Jermon Kindle Joyner's 1-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter accounting for the only scoring.