Maine South knocks off Glenbard West
Winning a state football championship is an every-season goal for Glenbard West.
In a 35-14 loss to Maine South on a misty Friday evening in Park Ridge, a mistake-prone Hilltoppers squad got a glimpse of how good it will need to become to reach that goal.
"We're going to have to get better," Glenbard West head coach Chad Hetlet said after the game. "But if we would have won the game, I would have told you the same thing. It wasn't like Maine South drove the ball up and down the field on us. We gave up big plays, and if you give up big plays against a great program you lose."
Senior back Tyquan Cox provided most of the offense for an inexperienced Hilltoppers offense, scurrying for 181 rush yards on 26 attempts while cashing in both Hilltoppers touchdowns and adding 3 catches for 20 yards for good measure.
The bad news: Glenbard West couldn't absorb 10 penalties, two lost fumbles, and a 21-0 halftime deficit that led to an opening-week defeat against Maine South for the second straight season.
"First-game jitters maybe," Hetlet said when asked about the root of his team's mistakes. "Maybe we were a little amped up. We had some personal foul calls (because) our kids were fired up to play this game. I thought we played well for the most part. You take out a handful of plays and we played really good football."
For one quarter both teams matched each other mistake-for-mistake en route to a scoreless first quarter.
But then the second quarter began, and the Hawks tightened things up while the Hilltoppers continued to make mistakes. On the first play of the second quarter, Hawks senior quarterback Bobby Inserra burst through the middle on a quarterback keeper for a 68-yard touchdown. The first-year varsity quarterback showcased the burst that made him an effective wide receiver and defensive back in previous years, scoring the game's first touchdown and opening the floodgates for a huge second quarter.
On the next drive Inserra showed off his arm, dropping a perfect pass into the hands of junior wide receiver Dan Lazic who was behind the defense on a go route. Lasik would add a rushing touchdown to his stat sheet a few minutes later, capping a 4:30 stretch during which the Hawks scored three touchdowns to roll into halftime with a 21-0 lead.
"I don't know if anybody is going to beat Maine South if you spot them 21 points," Hetlet said.
Riding the legs of Cox, the Hilltoppers fought back to cut their deficit to 28-14 and found themselves with the ball with 4:53 remaining in the game. But Hilltoppers quarterback Tommy Bleker's pass on the next drive found the hands of Hawks senior linebacker Cole Chiovari deep in Glenbard West territory. Soon after, Inserra found junior wideout Ryan Kilburg for a 13-yard touchdown on the exact same play they would have scored on a play earlier if the referees didn't call a pass interference penalty.
Inserra finished the game with six completions on 11 attempts, but had a 79-yard passing touchdown, another pass for 64 yards that set up a touchdown, and a quarterback keeper for 69 yards. Big plays hurt Glenbard West tonight, but they hope to use this loss as a springboard for future success just like they did last season when they followed up an opening week loss to Maine South by going undefeated the rest of the regular season.
"(We need to) just get better every week," Hetlet said. "Our kids know that, and our coaching staff knows that. That's our focus every week. We like to play programs like this, but we need to continue to get better and focus on Proviso East."