Glenbard South sees quarterfinal berth within reach

Updated 11/1/2017 12:49 PM
  • Glenbard South will host Marian Central Catholic in a second-round IHSA football playoff game Saturday afternoon.

      Glenbard South will host Marian Central Catholic in a second-round IHSA football playoff game Saturday afternoon. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Glenbard South could join a select group of football teams from its past -- if everyone does his part.

The Raiders, who beat Payton 49-31 in the first round of Class 5A football playoffs, seek to be the fourth team in program history to reach the quarterfinals. A win over No. 14 Marian Central, and No. 11 Glenbard South (6-4) joins its 1999, 2008 and 2009 teams to reach the final eight in its class.

"The message that I relayed to the team today was to play a complete game, four quarters of football. Too often this season the defense carried the offense or maybe the offense carried the defense," Glenbard South coach Ryan Crissey said Monday.

"Let's put together a complete game on both sides of the ball because that's what it's going to take to beat a very good team like Marian Central. Not playing over your head. It's about fulfilling your responsibility and that's it. Just do your 1/11th, don't do anyone else's job."

Crissey pointed to two examples from last week's win over Payton. The offense sent quarterback Jack Crouch to 208 yards rushing and running backs Nick D'Ambra and Adam Haushahn each over 100. The defense created interceptions by Mark Wilson, Noah Gibson and Graham DiFranco and 2 Haushahn sacks.

"That shows you everyone's doing what they're supposed to be doing," Crissey said.

Got your back:

It hasn't quite been a revolving door in Benet's backfield, but the Redwings (7-3) continue to search for the best player to lead the running game.

In last week's 35-13 victory over Maine West in the opening round of the Class 7A playoffs, No. 17 Benet turned to all-East Suburban Catholic Conference linebacker Mike Wymer. A running back at the freshman and sophomore levels, the junior rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown.

Wymer was the sixth feature back the Redwings have used this season, joining Ben Hickey, Sean Theisen, Thomas Snell, Ben Cooney and Connor Reid.

"Wymer's experienced there, so he was an obvious choice," said Benet coach Pat New. "We're just trying to find the best fit."

Wymer, Cooney and Reid are among the defensive leaders for the Redwings, but playing both ways often becomes a necessity in the playoffs. And all of them want to be on the field as much as possible this time of year.

Sophomore quarterback Colin Gillespie rushed for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns against Maine West, giving the Redhawks another threat in a ground game that piled up more than 300 rushing yards. After last week's performance, though, look for Benet to focus on Wymer again.

"He was awesome back there," New said. "I delayed putting him there for as long as possible because I wanted him to get immersed in the defense. But in the playoffs it's all hands on deck. We have to have our best 11 out there."

Easing in:

Like every other football team this time of year, Willowbrook (9-1) has its share of bumps and bruises.

That's why it was ideal when the Warriors burst to a 44-0 halftime lead on their way to a 44-21 victory over Deerfield in the opening round of the Class 6A playoffs.

"It gets to be a long year when you include all the time in the summer," said Warriors coach Nick Hildreth. "It's been a grind."

Hildreth's starters played only a half against Deerfield, allowing two-way standouts like Jack Jessen to rest up for what the Warriors hope will be another deep playoff run. The entire roster enjoyed the postseason experience last week.

The fourth-seeded Warriors should be ready to go in their second-round game against No. 5 DeKalb (8-2), a game that promises to be much tougher than the first round.

"It was good to get the starters out of there early, even if they didn't want to come out," Hildreth said. "Just following the success DeKalb's had the past few years, we know it's going to be a challenge."

Ground up:

For all the challenges Glenbard West's injury-riddled defense faced this season, Oswego might be a first this weekend.

With 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior running back Chris Coleman, the No. 9 Panthers (9-1) offer a glimpse at a downhill power run game. In last week's 28-14 first-round win over Naperville North, Coleman rushed for 330 yards on 29 carries.

Eighth-seeded Glenbard West (9-1) needs to prepare for a much different style of play compared to what it saw during the regular season in the West Suburban Silver.

"I think we've done a great job against the run this year, but this is going to be tough," said Hilltoppers coach Chad Hetlet. "We can't let him get a head of steam, we have to tackle well and we must be good up front."

With Aidan O'Keefe hoping to return from injury this week, Glenbard West should have a strong rotation of four defensive linemen, including Marky Winters, Ben Norgaard and sophomore Dave Lanciloti. The second level also hopes to get a boost with the return from injury of linebacker Jayden Rodgers.

For the first time all season the Hilltoppers' defense might actually have their best starting 11 on the field at the same time.

"I think we're getting healthy, but we'll have to see how everyone's doing," Hetlet said. "It'd be nice to have everyone out there for a game like this."

Into the future:

DeKalb eliminated Montini from the Class 6A playoffs on Saturday, ending Mike Bukovsky's first season as Broncos coach after 27 years as defensive coordinator.

Despite a first-round exit for the first time since 2006, overall Bukovsky was encouraged by what he saw on the field this fall.

"We wanted to compete a little better than we did last year and our boys did that. We played hard, we didn't lose any games because of effort or we gave up or any of that," Bukovsky said Saturday.

"Last year we really struggled with that, we got blown off the field three or four times last year. But this year our kids really stepped up and we did a lot of good things."

Along with effort there's consistent execution. That'll be emphasized considering Montini moves to the upper-echelon Chicago Catholic League Blue for at least the next two seasons, joining Loyola, Brother Rice, St. Rita and Providence.

The CCL loses St. Francis, Bishop McNamara and Aurora Christian to the Metro Suburban Conference starting in 2018-19, and a CCL parity committee used a variety of factors to set up three divisions next season. Scheduling will be revisited after the 2019 season.

Along with the CCL Blue lineup, the Green will include Mt. Carmel, Fenwick, De La Salle, Marmion and St. Laurence. The CCL Red will field St. Ignatius, Leo, DePaul, St. Joseph and Hope.

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