Nice, clean and neat. Almost textbook.
Frankly, those are the only superlatives that apply to Glenbard West's 42-12 victory over Bloom Twp. on Saturday in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs.
The eighth-seeded Hilltoppers brushed aside the Blazing Trojans thanks to 396 yards piled up in the first half, including 321 on the ground, and 6 touchdowns, 3 from senior back Dre Thomas. That precipitated a running clock in the second half, where Glenbard West's backups, including junior quarterback Tommy Bleker, got significant playing time.
On the other side of the ball, the Hilltoppers' defensive line of sophomore Dave Lanciloti, senior Ben Norgaard and junior Marky Winters contained Bloom's only real offensive threat, senior quarterback Juan Green, holding him to just 15 yards rushing and 126 yards passing. They also sacked him four times.
The reward for the Hilltoppers' easy win is the winner of Saturday night's Naperville North-Oswego tilt. But that's the future. This day was about enjoying the moment, though the road will get substantially tougher from here.
"Very excited about how we played today," Hitters' coach Chad Hetlet said. "The defense had a great start, the offense put up a lot of points early and I felt like we executed in all phases of the game."
And how. Bloom won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, which proved to be a mistake two plays into the game, when Thomas rushed up the middle for a 48-yard touchdown.
The Hilltoppers were just getting started, thus facilitating a busy day for junior kicker Logan Ryan, who went 6-for-6 on point-after attempts. On their second possession senior back Ryan Diver rushed for a 27-yard touchdown on a jet sweep. Diver left the game late in the first half with a sprained right ankle, however.
Thomas got back in the scoring column on a 4-yard run with 47.7 seconds left in the period, the culmination of a 54-yard, 14-play drive.
Suddenly, it was 21-0, and Glenbard West never looked back en route to improving to 9-1.
"I think we just played our normal Hitter football," said Thomas, who finished with 156 yards rushing on 12 attempts. "We just play how we normally play, no matter what team it is. I think that's how we get past other teams that we don't really have an idea who they are."
Junior Tyquan Cox added 103 yards rushing on 12 carries and a 36-yard touchdown run, while Diver chipped in 51 yards on 6 rushing attempts.
The Hilltoppers weren't just a running team, either. Senior quarterback Alex Hollensbe connected with junior Ethan Graff on a 51-yard touchdown pass on the first possession of the second quarter. Glenbard West got the ball courtesy of a fumble recovery by Lanciloti.
"We have probably the best backfield and receiver combo in the state right now, and we were on," Ryan said of his sideline observations in between point-after attempts. "I love watching them."