Willowbrook's Jeremy Barnes and Brian Johnson made sure the District 88 trophy stayed with the Warriors.
Johnson threw for 4 touchdowns and rushed for 1 while Barnes added more than 200 yards and 3 scores as the Warriors outlasted rival Addison Trail 49-32 in Villa Park on Friday night.
"It's huge," Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth said of his multifaceted attack. "Sometimes our pass numbers will look big, sometimes it's on the ground. We take what teams give us and we attack it from there."
Addison Trail struck first, scoring in just 6 plays and finishing with an 18-yard run by quarterback Mike Rybarczyk to take an early 7-0 lead. Willowbrook responded quickly, scoring about three minutes later on a 20-yard screen pass from Johnson to Barnes to even the score at 7. The Warriors took the lead on another Johnson touchdown pass, this time a 7-yard strike to senior Devin Childress, giving the Warriors a 14-7 lead to close out the first quarter.
The Blazers (2-7, 2-4) used a 13-yard Rybarczyk scamper to pull within 1 with 3:56 left in the first half. But the Warriors notched a touchdown off a 2-yard Barnes touchdown run. Johnson found Hayden Adams in the corner of the end zone for a 2-point conversion, handing the Warriors a crucial 22-13 halftime lead.
Barnes scored the next touchdown in the third quarter off a 1-yard run, giving Willowbrook a 29-13 lead with 6:37 left. Willowbrook's Childress recovered the ensuing onside kick, giving the Warriors the ball at the Blazers 44-yard line. The Warriors (7-2, 5-1) worked quickly and scored on a Johnson 33-yard pass to Hayden Adams. The quick 14-point flurry gave the Warriors a 36-13 lead with 5:36 left.
The Blazers answered courtesy of running back Jim Wislek's 2-yard plunge, cutting the deficit to 36-19. Blazers linebacker Alton Marshall then recovered the Addison Trail onside kick, giving the Blazers the ball at the Warriors 43. The Blazers didn't squander the opportunity, using a 41-yard bomb from Rybarczyk to an outstretched Christian Grabowski. Wislek punched it into the end zone for a 2-yard score, pulling Addison Trail closer.
But Johnson answered on the final drive of the third quarter, scrambling 13 yards for a Warriors touchdown and a 42-25 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.
Wislek added his third score of the game with 11:19 left, dashing 28 yards and pulling the Blazers within 42-32. The Warriors wasted little time, answering with Johnson's fourth touchdown pass to Adams, sealing the game for the Warriors 49-32.
While the Warriors head to the playoffs, Addison Trail finished a season that saw a lot of heart from a tight-knit group.
"We didn't quit," Addison Trail coach Paul Parpet said. "The seniors mean a lot to your program. We have a classy bunch of seniors and they're going to go on and do a lot of great things."