Brodner, Glenbard West make their move
New number, same old Sam Brodner.
Sporting a different football jersey, Glenbard West's star running back did a bit of everything in rallying the Hilltoppers to Saturday's 35-24 West Suburban Silver victory over Hinsdale Central in a showdown of unbeatens at Glen Ellyn's Duchon Field.
Most important were the 3 touchdowns scored by the Vanderbilt-bound senior, giving him 21 on the season. After scoring on a 75-yard run in the second quarter, Brodner snared an 18-yard touchdown pass from Brian Cochrane with 4:33 left in the fourth quarter to give the Hilltoppers (6-0, 4-0) the lead for good at 28-24.
Three minutes later he put a bow on the victory with a 6-yard touchdown run. Along the way Brodner also ran 52 yards on a Statue of Liberty play and hauled in a one-handed red-zone catch to set up Cochrane's touchdown pass to Adam Zybko.
"We always know we're going to get it going at some point," Brodner said. "Once we get it going it's hard to stop us. It's a tough thing to do to start fast in the first half, but we just have to keep working to get to that point."
Brodner, who had 174 rushing yards and 65 receiving yards, had plenty of motivation on Saturday. Not only was he trying to extend the Hilltoppers' Silver winning streak to 28 straight games against another hungry, top-notch challenger, he also switched his uniform number from No. 4 to No. 7 to honor injured teammate and friend Danny Riley, a starting defensive back.
Glenbard West trailed 10-0, 17-7 and 24-21 but -- like so many times before -- the Hilltoppers found a way to fight back. They took their first lead of 21-17 on Isaiah Skinner's 8-yard third-quarter run.
"I think we're a second-half team," said Glenbard West linebacker Nico Gagliano. "We just have a lot of energy, and the team's just always bouncing back, even in tough situations."
Hinsdale Central (5-1, 3-1) committed to the run more than it has all season, with Christian Bobak rushing for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns on 34 carries. Josh Bean's 12-yard touchdown pass to Kareem Muhammad on the first play of the fourth quarter put the Red Devils ahead 24-21.
A three and out gave Hinsdale Central the ball right back. The Red Devils marched to Glenbard West's 14, but Kobe Easley intercepted a pass to end the critical drive. Eight plays later, including Brodner's Statue of Liberty gain on third-and-13, Brodner caught the go-ahead scoring pass.
"They got the ball back and they made some plays," said Hinsdale Central coach Dan Hartman. "We had the chance down their deep in their zone to go up another score, and I think that was the turning point in the game. We needed to take that opportunity and punch it in."
After beating previously unbeaten Silver rivals Lyons Twp. and Hinsdale Central in consecutive weeks, Glenbard West takes on a third in Week 7. The Hilltoppers hit the road to play Oak Park (6-0, 3-0).
"You can't say enough about how the boys played with their heart and their souls," said Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet. "It's a pretty special group of kids."
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