Hinsdale Central shuts out Glenbard West to win Silver title
One touchdown was all the football fans at Glenbard West's Duchon Field saw on Saturday afternoon.
It was all the Hinsdale Central defense needed.
The visiting Red Devils defended that touchdown ferociously, hanging on for a 6-0 victory against Glenbard West even though the Hilltoppers spent much of the second half with a good view of the end zone.
"It's big," Hinsdale Central coach Brian Griffin said of the win. "We're trying to continue to build something. I mean everybody knows, we know, that is one (heck) of a football team (Glenbard West), right? And I think these matchups are getting good every year because we get after it and coach our kids. ... This is what a conference championship should be like."
The victory, Hinsdale Central's eighth straight, gives the Red Devils (8-1, 6-0) the West Suburban Conference Silver Division title, not to mention a whole lot of confidence and momentum going into the first round of the Class 8A playoffs next weekend.
"I feel like our team has built a lot of chemistry, especially around everywhere, offense and defense," added junior defense back Charlie Cornell, who came up with one of two Hinsdale Central fourth-quarter interceptions and broke up a pass on the final Glenbard West drive. "And I feel like everyone has confidence in each other and it's been helping us win games."
The Hilltoppers (7-2, 4-2) finished third in the Silver and will look to regroup for next weekend.
The touchdown came midway through the second quarter. Facing third-and-14 at the Glenbard West 21-yard line, Hinsdale Central quarterback Billy Cernugel passed to slot receiver Thomas Skokna in the end zone.
Then it was up to the Hinsdale Central defense, which forced four turnovers and held the Hilltoppers to 88 yards passing and 80 yards rushing. They came up big when they needed to most.
"We needed to get better on special teams, right?" Griffin said. "They flipped the field on us and did a good job of getting us backed up. And this group, they fought through injuries, adversity, all throughout this whole (season). And the consistent message and the consistent thing these kids do is they show up. And that's defensively what we did when we were put back in a bad position, we showed up."
Glenbard West's best chance to score came late in the third quarter, when the Hilltoppers worked their way to a first-and-goal situation at the Hinsdale Central 1-yard line. The Red Devils stopped three running plays, forcing a fumble on the third that they recovered.
Then they showed up again when the Hilltoppers started over at the Hinsdale Central 30 following a punt.
"Turnovers, penalties, it's been our story," Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said. "We lost the game to York. We should have lost to Downers North. Turnovers and penalties on offense have absolutely murdered us. We don't have any momentum. ... You can't have turnovers and penalties and expect to win football games."