D'Ambrose returns to lead Addison Trail
Addison Trail senior Nick D'Ambrose did not have much fun the last three weeks, but he made sure to have all the fun he could in Friday's final home game.
Returning from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for three weeks -- all losses for the Blazers -- D'Ambrose busted out for 313 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries as Addison Trail snapped a five-game losing streak with a 34-7 West Suburban Conference Gold Division defeat of visiting Morton.
"It's sad, I was out for three important games," the senior running back said. "And we didn't have everyone back our first four games. Our QB was out and he returned and then I'm out. We always, always believe in each other, but sadly we weren't all back until Week 8."
With D'Ambrose gaining 66 yards on the opening drive and capping it with a 3-yard score, Addison Trail grabbed a quick 7-0 lead. The lead was 14-0 at the half after a 43-yard dart by D'Ambrose set himself up for a 9-yard touchdown.
With the ground game off and running, the Blazers (3-5, 1-4) were in total control as the defense was just as dominant against the Mustangs (1-7, 1-4). Linebacker Nick DiBenardo had double-digit tackles on Friday and the Blazers defense -- aside from one 69-yard run by Morton's David Wilson -- stymied the visitors throughout.
"Really we just wanted to come out here and have fun. It started all up front with our (defensive) line and we just dominated up front," DiBenardo said.
"D'Ambrose back really helps. He brings a lot of energy to this team.
We needed this win for our seniors. It's our last home game and we needed this win."
After Wilson got the Mustangs to within 14-7, D'Ambrose answered instantly, scoring on a 65-yard run after taking a pitch and stopping and starting and cutting across the field for this third touchdown on the night.
"It was a well-played game," Blazers coach Paul Parpet Jr. said. "I don't like to say one player makes the difference, but I think you saw a difference out here today. That's a complement to our seniors. It's their last time on this field and their goal all week was to come away with a victory and that they did. We finally had a game -- and we haven't had one in a while -- that we started fast. And it was a good feeling to start fast."
Christian Cici returned a punt 43 yards for a score in the third quarter and then D'Ambrose capped the night's scoring and his big effort with a 73-yard touchdown run with 1:20 left to play that pushed him over the 300-yard mark.
"It stinks that we weren't able to get full speed on offense until Week 8, but at least we got it for our last home game to make a special memory," D'Ambrose said.