Providence holds off Willowbrook
Willowbrook has the kind of quick-strike offense that opposing teams must pay close attention to. With talent at the skill positions, the Warriors put that display in late stages of Friday's season opener against visiting Providence Catholic.
Trailing by a touchdown in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, Willowbrook quarterback Sam Tumilty hit wideout Everett Stubblefield on a 47-yard pass down to the Celtics' 5-yard line. The Warriors couldn't punch it on a running play and on the next play, Providence cornerback Kevin Countryman jumped in to snare a quick interior pass for the interception. The Celtics then ran out the clock at midfield to deal Willowbrook a tough 14-7 loss before a packed house on Senior Night in Villa Park.
"It was a really good throw by Sam and he led me perfectly," said Stubblefield, who had 4 catches for 98 yards. "I just couldn't put it in the end zone."
In addition to Stubblefield, Tumilty connected with Deandre Holliday on pass plays of 28 and 27 yards. The Warriors defense looked to stretch the Providence secondary, but they weren't able to connect on enough big pass plays.
The lone score for the Warriors (0-1) came in the second quarter when Tumilty scampered in from 13 yards out. The running game got some key yards at times but they will look to improve on that as well. As a team, they only gained 40 yards on the ground. Willowbrook led 7-0 at halftime.
"We need to be more efficient on offense and get better," Tumilty said. "It is really nice to have Deandre and Everett. We need to keep working on those routes in practice."
"We just couldn't sustain drives," said Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth. "Providence is an elite program and we will get better from playing them. We just need to clean up some mistakes and get better."
Providence (1-0) capitalized on a couple of key plays that didn't go Willowbrook's way. To start the second half, the Warriors tried an onside kick and couldn't recover the ball to give the Celtics a short field. They ended up scoring on that drive to tie the game.
The Celtics got the winning score with 9:55 to play in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Kevin Conway collected a fumbled snap and muscled his way in from a yard out. Their field position was helped when they drew a Willowbrook lineman offsides on the snap count for a first down inside the 5-yard line.
"We knew they had a good team with skill players," said Providence coach Mark Coglianese. "I was happy with how we responded in the second half. We played with a lot of heart and grit."
The Warriors play at Oak Park-River Forest next Friday and Hildreth looks at that game as another good way for the team to get better as the Huskies are in Class 8A and are the defending West Suburban Silver champions.
"It will be a good opportunity for us," he said.