Marist ends Glenbrook South's standout season
A quality Marist team ended Glenbrook South's best football season since 2009 in the Illinois High School Association Class 8A quarterfinals on Nov. 13.
Out of the CCL/ESCC Blue, arguably Illinois' best prep football conference, the visiting RedHawks beat Glenbrook South 51-21 at John Davis Stadium in Glenview.
Quarterback Dontrell Jackson Jr. completed 13 of 17 passes for 263 yards and 4 touchdowns, leading to 44 unanswered points and a 51-7 lead after three quarters.
Glenbrook South's dynamic duo of senior running backs Matt Burda and Will Collins each scored one final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"Our goal this week was to come out more physical, come out more hungry," Jackson Jr. said. "It's the playoffs, you know? We win or go home. I feel like we can take it all the way."
No. 18 seed Marist (9-3) advanced to the Class 8A semifinals against No. 6 Maine South.
No. 1 Loyola, which along with Blue peers Mt. Carmel and Brother Rice beat Marist in the regular season, will face No. 4 Lockport in the other semifinal after Mike Baker's 32-yard field goal edged Lincoln-Way East, 3-0.
No. 10 Glenbrook South (9-3) finished with its most victories since 2009, also the Titans' last quarterfinal appearance.
"That was a very talented team. Honestly, they were better than us, and that's a level we're hoping to get to," Titans coach Dave Schoenwetter said of Marist.
"But I think our program took a huge step forward this year and our senior class did a great job of leading the program and raising the bar in terms of expectations. They're going to leave a great legacy."
The game began like a track meet. Off the opening kickoff Marist's Brian Winstead recovered a Glenbrook South fumble, and Alonzo Manning II took the first snap 26 yards for a touchdown.
A little over a minute later Burda followed offensive guard Johnny Rolfes' trap block for an 87-yard touchdown run. Franco Fernandez-Enjo's kick tied the score 7-7 just 2:40 into the game.
"At that point in time I thought, all right, back in this game and we'll see what we can do from here," Schoenwetter said.
Only Marist scored on its next eight possessions, including a 2-yard blast from the Wildcat formation by multi-offered linebacker Jimmy Rolder, and Jackson's 3-yard play-action pass to Matthew Markett dragging the end zone for a 37-7 halftime lead.
Like any Glenbrook South opponent, a Marist key was to limit Collins and Burda on the ground. In the first half Marist ran 32 plays to 19 for Glenbrook South, not counting punts by the Titans' Jack DiSano. Marist had 297 yards of offense in the first half to Glenbrook South's 109.
"We talked about playing complementary football, having both sides of the ball kind of work together as one. If our offense can control the ball both on the ground and make big plays when they present themselves, we're helping out our defense as well," said Marist coach Ron Dawczak, like Schoenwetter an alumnus of his program.
Marist initiated a running clock with 2:26 left in the third quarter on a 46-yard touchdown catch by Tyler O'Brochta, his second score of the quarter.
Dermot Smyth led the RedHawks with 100 yards receiving; Manning III ran for a game-high 118 yards.
Burda was right behind Manning with 103 yards rushing, including his second touchdown on an 18-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Titans quarterback Nic Swanson, not going down without a fight in his final game, fired up his teammates on the sideline.
"A lot of adversity last (season), we were 1-4 but we had one goal and that was to change the dynamic of our program. I think that's exactly what we did," Swanson said.
Collins, who before his senior season had missed two years to injury, capped the scoring on an 8-yard run.
"I don't think I've ever been with a group of guys that are closer than our team. We like to go by 'brotherhood,' and I think that's exactly what we are," Collins said.
Juniors such as offensive guard Drew Duffy look to continue the brotherhood.
"I think this loss will certainly serve to motivate us," he said. "I think most importantly the foundation that the seniors have laid this year will really change this program.
"I think we really have a great group of leaders that played their possibly last game today, and we're really proud of everything they've done for us, and we're going to keep taking what they've taught us and put it into the next season, work really hard."