Glenbard East books ticket to the playoffs
Don't bother offering a Glenbard East football player Cubs playoff tickets for Oct. 20. Even "Hamilton" passes will be refused.
They'll be busy the following weekend too.
For the first time since 1999, the Rams will have a reason to watch as a team when the IHSA announces its playoff pairings on television. A public watch party is being planned.
Last week's win at South Elgin made the undefeated Rams eligible for the playoffs. Friday's 42-8 victory at East Aurora clinched a playoff berth.
"We want to make history," said Rams senior cornerback Daniel Hurtado, born two years after Glenbard East's last playoff appearance. "Making the playoffs is a big deal."
"I think it's a huge deal," added Rams coach John Walters, in his eighth season in charge of the team, plus two as an assistant to current assistant Dennis Lueck. "This will be our second playoff appearance since '74 when the playoffs started, right? So I think it's a huge deal. I think it's a huge deal for our kids, our community, our school.
"We get to play a 10th game. It's a big deal. We've been talking about this for years now, trying to find that elusive fifth win. We're 6 for 6 this year, we kind of like the way it's going."
The Rams (6-0, 6-0 Upstate Eight Conference) got the scoring started with a 33-yard Jeremy Johnson touchdown reception from quarterback Bret Bushka on their second offensive possession.
Their third possession ended with another Bushka TD pass, this one to Kurt Csech for 22 yards.
"It doesn't matter if a team has a bad record or anything," Hurtado said. "We go in and there's no mercy. We just play hard every snap."
The second quarter saw the Rams make the score 21-0 on a Jake Netchin 5-yard TD run up the middle, Netchin bulling his way into the end zone.
Next it was Jamylenn Miles' turn to rush for a TD, also reaching the end zone from 5 yards out.
The second quarter wrapped up with Bushka's third and final TD pass of the night. He went back to Johnson from 39 yards out with 13.0 seconds left for a 35-0 lead against East Aurora (0-6, 0-6).
"We were OK," Walters said. "We were out slow. And then we kind of caught our stride at the end of the first quarter and kind of did our thing from there."
The Rams took the ball 70 yards on their first possession of the second half, culminating with a touchdown for the third running back in a three-back rotation, Billy Gotsch. Gotsch's 4-yard run gave the Rams a 42-0 lead and a running clock the rest of the game.
It also gave them a head start on a low-key celebration of their clinching victory.
"Probably sleep in tomorrow, because we don't have practice tomorrow, which is a good reward," said Hurtado, still focused on the regular season's remaining three games. "And we earned it. We work hard every day."