Glenbard West earns home football semifinal
ROCKFORD -- Glenbard West proved Saturday you can go home again.
After Saturday's 45-14 quarterfinal victory at Rockford Auburn, the Class 7A top seed -- now a perfect 12-0 -- will be back at Duchon Field next Saturday when the visitor will be Cary-Grove, a 42-21 winner over Batavia.
"Today's objective was just to get home again," quarterback Brian Cochrane said.
Standout Sam Brodner had his second kickoff return for a touchdown and added 3 more rushing TDs.
"The O-line continues to give me great holes to run through and the kickoff was because everyone got their individual assignment done," Brodner said.
"Seriously, the O-line is killing it this year for us," Cochrane added.
No. 9 seed Auburn (10-2) picked up a pair of first downs and was a yard shy of midfield before a poor punt gave Glenbard West the ball on its own 35. Cochrane connected with Brodner for a gain of 6, and on the next play, the Vanderbilt-bound back broke through for a 59-yard sprint to the end zone to produce a 7-0 first-quarter lead.
Forcing a three-and-out at the start of the second quarter, Isaiah Skinner's 24-yard punt return set up the Hilltoppers on the Knights' 23. Three plays later Cochrane connected on a 7-yard TD pass to Adam Zybko for a 14-0 lead. However, between a rough tackle and landing, the senior tight end was sidelined the rest of the way.
Eric Samuta held tight to Auburn quarterback Nathan Jarrett's legs to thwart a fourth-down conversion attempt. That was followed shortly by a 21-yard field goal from Parker Esposito, who was 5-of-6 on PAT kicks.
That was the first of five scores over the 5:26 span prior to halftime.
The host Knights got excited when Jarrett found Illinois-bound receiver Juwuane Parchman for a 67-yard pass to make it 23-7. But that was negated when Brodner took the ensuing kickoff back 92 yards.
"He's just special," Hetlet said of Brodner. "He's an amazing athlete, so strong, just a game-breaker."
The Knights put together a 9-play, 76-yard drive to get back to within 9 points. Auburn's Daqwuan Bell was on the receiving end of Jarrett's 26-yarder with 1:28 still left in the second quarter.
J.T. Terrell turned a catch from Cochrane into a 52-yard scoring strike with 29.2 seconds remaining.
Jarrett had a 19-yard completion and 9-yard scramble to cross midfield to the Hilltoppers 36, but a completion to Parchman was snuffed out 6 yards shy of the end zone.
Glenbard West's defense never allowed Auburn to get beyond midfield during the third quarter and much of the fourth.
Nico Gagliano, Dionte Moorehead and Jackson Goleash all had sacks, plus Mark Mattson recovered a fumble to give the Hilltoppers the ball on the Auburn 31, where Brodner broke free to make it 38-14 with 7:03 left in the third.
Brodner, who finished with 202 yards on 25 carries, also took a pitch 13 yards to make it 45-14 with 1:35 to go in the third quarter.
"A big key was being able to take them out of their running game forcing them to throw and making the quarterback scramble, plus we executed big time on special teams," Hetlet said. "Jackson (Goleash) did an outstanding job at linebacker. So did Ross (Andreasik)."
Those sentiments were echoed by Evan McTaggart, another unsung defensive stalwart.
"The key was shutting down their run to take them out of their element," McTaggart said. "We got up on them early. Ross is not only a really good leader, he's a sure tackler, and defensively we emulate that."
Jarrett completed 21 of 34 passes for 277 yards after needing just 60 to break an Auburn school record set 37 years before.
It was Chad Hetlet's 100th victory as coach of the Hilltoppers.
"All that means is I've been lucky enough to be around a lot special players and assistants," Hetlet said. "The kids are always more important than won-loss numbers."