Willowbrook finally wins opener, routs Grayslake North
Week 1 has been a headache of late for the Willowbrook football team, which last won its season opener in 2012.
But thanks to a dominant all-around performance on Friday in Villa Park, that streak is over.
Just nine months removed from a trip to the Class 7A quarterfinals, the Warriors made quite the statement with a 42-0 win over Grayslake North.
"That was a great team win," said senior quarterback John Taylor, who threw for three touchdowns in his first varsity start. "The offense was clicking and the defense shut them out. You can't ask for much better."
The home team led 14-0 at halftime thanks to a pair of touchdown runs from Jack Jessen. The senior finished with 198 yards on 23 carries.
Willowbrook poured it on after halftime, as Taylor connected with Nick Sabatino, Scott Tumilty and Martique Barksdale on scoring throws.
The Warriors defense was equally impressive, receiving a pair of interceptions from Tumilty and a fumble recovery by Kevon Dobbins. Christian Washington and Nick Rushing also had sacks.
"There are still things to shore up," Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth said, "but as far as effort and energy, I felt we competed on every snap and I'm proud of the guys for that.
"I thought the guys did a pretty good job on defense. The guys upfront created pressure and Tumilty did a good job reading things. And John (Taylor) also did a great job. As a senior, he has gone through the progression. He was the JV quarterback last year and he has worked really hard. He was nervous early but he got that out of the way and settled in."
Grayslake North had its best drive at the end of the first half, driving down to the Warriors' 9-yard line before stalling. The visitors also made it inside the 20 on their first drive of the game before a missed field goal.
Connor Nordmeyer did have an interception and quarterback Austin Martineau completed 20 of 35 passes for 146 yards.
"They just gained the momentum," said Grayslake North coach Sam Baker. "Two things I told the kids before the game, whoever was the most disciplined with penalties and turnovers and whoever handled adversity the best, and we did neither. But they are a good football team, you can't take anything away from them. Things just snowballed but it is just one game. We will be fine."