It seems like forever since Glenbard West's football team played at Duchon Field, and it actually has been a while. Six straight games -- all victories including the Class 7A championship and three straight to start this season -- since the Hilltoppers last touched the green grass of home.
Glenbard West returned in style on Saturday, rolling to a 35-0 West Suburban Silver win over Downers Grove North in Glen Ellyn.
Ryan Diver, D.J. Ficarella and Dre Thomas helped the Hilltoppers (4-0, 2-0) combine for 288 rushing yards. Quarterback Cole Brady threw for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns, and the defense earned its first shutout of the season.
All in all, it was a picture perfect season debut at Duchon.
"It feels great, just a big crowd out here," said Hilltoppers defensive lineman Dionte Moorehead. "Getting a win on our home field, being in this atmosphere. I love this field. It's tough for opponents to come out here, so it's to our advantage."
A scoreless game after a quarter became a 21-0 halftime lead for the Hilltoppers when Diver scored on touchdown runs of 30 and 41 yards, and Brady threw a 9-yard scoring pass to Alex Pihlstrom.
"We're a lot deeper than last year," Diver said. "It's a real benefit. It takes the load off some of the key players. We can spread the ball out. Teams are always guessing who's going to get it."
Downers North (1-3, 0-2) struggled offensively the entire game, but especially in the first half while managing 8 total yards and no first downs against the experienced Hilltoppers' defense. The Trojans finished with 61 of their 66 total yards on the ground, with Marquise Brooks' 35 yards on 6 carries leading the way.
"You can't spot this team 21 points," said Trojans coach John Wander. "But we didn't quit. We want to play at their level, but we didn't show it."
Glenbard West added a touchdown in the third and fourth quarters. Brady threw a 21-yard scoring strike to Ben Reifel and defensive back Jackson Goleash scored on a 13-yard run.
The Hilltoppers face fellow Silver unbeaten Lyons Twp. (4-0, 1-0) next Saturday as they continue a stretch of playing four of their final six games at home.
"It didn't feel like football season until today, honestly," said Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet. "It's just good to be home in front of our crowd."
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