Willowbrook takes command in Gold by beating Hinsdale South
Willowbrook's D'Onte Gholston didn't get his name called often Friday night, but he answered when his team needed him most.
The Warriors were clinging to a 4-point lead when Gholston took a handoff and motored 55 yards up the left side for the decisive touchdown in a 20-10 victory over Hinsdale South.
The homecoming win gave Willowbrook (5-0, 3-0) sole possession of first place in the West Suburban Gold. Barring upsets, the outcome likely determined the league race, since the visiting Hornets (3-2, 2-1) came in as the lone remaining unbeaten team in Gold play.
"We knew coming into this that it was going to be a battle for who was going to take conference," Gholston said. "Us seniors especially, we knew that we had to do everything we can to make sure that we stay undefeated."
The Warriors appeared ready to blow out the Hornets after scoring on their first two possessions. But they came up empty on three additional trips inside the red zone in the first half and Hinsdale South roared back in the second half.
Marquese Garrett tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Steve Farina in the third quarter and Sergio Gonzalez kicked a 25-yard field to pull the Hornets within 14-10 with 9:24 to go in the fourth quarter.
Three plays later, Gholston took advantage of a great block from Everett Stubblefield, cut back up the field and then outraced the defense down the left side to score with 8:10 remaining.
"(Stubblefield's block) was real big," Gholston said. "Once I got to the edge I saw he had (the defender) turned outside, so I knew I had to cut it up right away.
"Once I cut it, I saw the seam and I hit the gas."
Quarterback Sam Tumilty, who completed 13 of 21 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown and ran for 90 yards and another score, is the focus of Willowbrook's offense, so Gholston splits the remaining carries with Scott Tumilty and Franshun Jordan.
But he's ready whenever he's needed.
"I'm always ready," said Gholston, who carried five times for 73 yards. "If you stay ready, you ain't got to get ready.
"We knew the offense needed to get out there and score, so once I got my play call I knew I had to take it in. It felt unreal."
Willowbrook's win didn't become real until another unheralded senior, Deandre Holliday, intercepted Garrett at the Warriors' 3-yard line with 5:40 remaining. The Warriors then ran out the clock.
"This is probably the biggest interception of my whole football career," Holliday said, of a pick that came after the intended receiver tipped the ball while being hit by Sam Tumilty. "It was a great play by Sam just breaking on the ball and making a play. It gave me a chance to make the interception."