Addison Trail coach Paul Parpet warned his team about not looking ahead and taking care of business first.
The Blazers certainly got the message. The Blazers' Anthony Messina had 3 touchdowns in a 35-7 victory over host Willowbrook in Villa Park Friday night.
"I called this a trap game," Parpet said. "When you play in an environment like you did last week against Glenbard West and then next week against Downers South for the conference championship, we called this a trap game. But we came out and took care of business. A win's a win."
The first quarter was a defensive battle, as Addison Trail notched the only 3 first downs. The Blazers had a touchdown called back on a holding penalty late in the quarter but punched in the touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
Messina scampered 18 yards to give the Blazers an early 6-0 lead with 11:52 remaining in the first half. On its next possession Willowbrook drove to the Blazers 40 but was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 by the swarming Addison Trail defense.
The Blazers went to work immediately after gaining possession on their own 40. Quarterback Trevor Bermingham found senior Vince Beltrano in the end zone with a 17-yard strike and the Blazers converted the 2-point conversion, upping their lead to 14-0 with 4:24 left. But the stingy Willowbrook defense kept Addison Trail at bay for the first 12 minutes.
"Early on, we held our own," Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth said. "They are some of the most athletic guys we've seen all year."
The Blazers (7-1, 5-0) forced another three-and-out, and after the punt, they started at their own 44 with 2:20 left in the first half. Addison Trail then marched the 56 yards in under two minutes, taking a 21-0 lead on a Messina 3-yard run. By the end of the half, Addison Trail had limited Willowbrook (0-8, 0-5 ) to just 31 total yards, and 1 first down.
"I love their defense," Hildreth said of Addison Trail. "They are flying around, and you saw that last week against Glenbard West. They just fly around and do a great job."
Willowbrook doubled their offensive production on the first play of the third quarter with a 26-yard scamper by junior Dom Battaglia. But the offense stalled from there, and once more the Warriors had to punt.
After an interception by Willowbrook's Zac Brunig, the Warriors drove to the Blazers 8-yard line after an 18-yard pass from Ferguson to Battaglia. But an offensive pass interference call on fourth-and-3 negated what would have been a Willowbrook touchdown.
Messina added another touchdown later on a 14-yard run, giving Addison Trail a 28-0 advantage. Senior Phil Partipilo scored a 32-yard touchdown run to make it 35-0 late in the fourth quarter. Willowbrook answered with its only score on a Brandon Smith 53-yard run.
With the win all the attention turns to next week's matchup with Downers South for the West Suburban Gold title.
"We set it up perfectly," Parpet said. "It's going to be a showdown next week for sure. It's the second year in a row for us, and hopefully it goes better for us this year."