Glenbard West defeats Mt. Carmel in playoff classic
Years from now when Glenbard West's old-timers sit around talking about football, Saturday's game against Mt. Carmel no doubt will enter the conversation.
In the first playoff meeting in 58 combined appearances by the perennial state powers, Glenbard West used Sam Brodner's third-quarter touchdown run and an amazingly stingy defense to beat the Caravan 7-0 in second-round Class 7A action in Glen Ellyn.
The top-seeded Hilltoppers (11-0) advance to the quarterfinals for the seventh time in eight years. They'll travel to Rockford to take on No. 9 Auburn (10-1), a 35-20 winner over Reavis, with a fourth straight semifinal berth at stake.
"It's just a great game, just to be able to play such an honored team," said Hilltoppers linebacker Nico Gagliano, whose defensive unit handed Mt. Carmel its first shutout loss since 2003 when Glenbard South blanked the Caravan 33-0.
"Two great teams going at it, and you couldn't ask for a better way for it to end," he said.
With intensity filling fan-packed Duchon Field, the two historic programs went toe-to-toe for four quarters. The game stayed scoreless until the third quarter when, after No. 16 Mt. Carmel (8-3) missed a 36-yard field-goal attempt, Glenbard West began a 10-play, 80-yard game-winning drive.
Two Brian Cochrane passes to Chrystian Maciorowski pushed the Hilltoppers into the red zone. On fourth-and-6 at the 16, Brodner bruised his way down the right sideline for the game's only score with 1:49 left in the third quarter.
"We could have easily lost this game, but we came back and fought the way we needed to in the second half," said Brodner, who rushed for 141 yards on 29 carries and has 1,130 rushing yards and 37 total touchdowns on the season. "We were all hyped up and going crazy. When you're faced with that situation and can beat a team like Mt. Carmel, it's a great feeling."
Mt. Carmel had two more possessions, the first ending on Jackson Goleash's interception at Glenbard West's 10-yard line. The Caravan then worked to a first-and-goal at the 6 but couldn't convert on four chances.
The Hilltoppers proceeded to run out the clock with three first downs.
"You've got to execute," said Mt. Carmel coach Frank Lenti, whose team managed only 69 rushing yards after piling up 300 last week. "We were down inside the 20, I think, four times and came away with nothing. We had opportunities to score touchdowns. We had opportunities to score field goals. We have to execute."
The Hilltoppers kept Mt. Carmel's vaunted veer option game in check despite the Caravan starting in Glenbard West territory on five of their eight possessions and running only two second-half plays on their own side of the field.
Two Mt. Carmel possessions ended on red-zone interceptions, including one by Kobe Easley.
Glenbard West also struggled to convert despite outgaining the Caravan 290-135 in total yardage. Two of the Hilltoppers' four first-half possessions advanced inside the Caravan 20-yard line, but one drive ended on downs and the other ended on a missed field goal.
"As amazing as it was to watch Sam take the game over, and he did, it was amazing to watch that defense," said Hilltoppers coach Chad Hetlet. "I'm really speechless about our effort, to be honest with you."
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