Josh Williams and Downers Grove South just want their due.
For the second straight week the Mustangs took on an opponent from a power conference. And once again, it was No. 3 seed Downers Grove South coming away with a convincing win, this time 41-14 over No. 6 Brother Rice in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs in Downers Grove.
The underdog role is one the Mustangs (10-1) are basking in, even though they were the higher seed against both Naperville North and Brother Rice. Just like a week ago Downers Grove South rolled up a stunning halftime lead, this time 27-0.
"Any team can be beat," said Williams, who ran for 110 yards on 26 carries, had 56 receiving yards and scored 3 touchdowns. "It gives you extra drive knowing you're an underdog going in. They may not want to look at us, but they have to now."
The Mustangs, who advanced to the quarterfinal round for the second time in three years, will play at either Bolingbrook or Mt. Carmel next week. They hit the road with a West Suburban Gold-plated chip on their shoulder.
"All the self-proclaimed experts," said Mustangs coach John Belskis, "who always when they write about us say we play in a weak league and we don't belong I guess they're not as much of an expert as they think they are. Our kids work hard. Come out and watch our kids play and then say something about our team."
Like against Naperville North, turnovers loomed large for the opportunistic Mustangs as did special teams.
Downers Grove South turned a muffed punt into a 22-yard Anthony Farinella field goal, and two plays after another Brother Rice fumble, Williams banged in a 2-yard touchdown for a 17-0 lead with 10:13 left in the second quarter.
"Our defense has done that all year," Belskis said, "and we took advantage of it."
The Mustangs earlier got the ball at midfield after a low snap on a Brother Rice punt. They cashed in immediately, Williams taking a shovel pass from AJ Simoncelli for a 48-yard touchdown.
Brother Rice (7-4) outgained Downers Grove South by 100 yards, and backs Martez and Andrew Walker both went over 100 yards, combining for 283. But mistakes repeatedly haunted the Crusaders. Two long Walker runs were called back because of penalties, and a Martez Walker interception of Simoncelli in the end zone was negated because of defensive pass interfence.
"We killed ourselves," Brother Rice coach Steve Nye said. "They're a good team, but we didn't help ourselves at all."
Farinella split the uprights for a 47-yard field goal on the last play of the half, sending the Mustangs into the break up 27-0.
Brother Rice mounted two long scoring drives to start the second half, Andrew Walker's 1-yard touchdown cutting the margin to 27-14 with 1:19 left in the third.
Danny Leach, who earlier had a 38-yard punt return to set up a Williams touchdown, broke the Brother Rice momentum by returning the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to the Crusaders 38. Four plays later, Simoncelli found Kaylon Miller for an 18-yard score.
"Our coach told us in the huddle, 'We need something big here,'" Leach said. "I owe it to my middle wedge all I had to do was run up the middle."