Win is sweet for Glenbard West
Third-year starters clearly have long memories.
For Glenbard West senior defensive lineman Dave Lanciloti, the sting of losing to Maine South stretches to his sophomore football season on varsity. Two season-opening losses, in fact, by a combined margin of 7 touchdowns.
Lanciloti didn't sugarcoat the meaning of Saturday's 45-28 victory over the Hawks at Glen Ellyn's Duchon Field.
"It feels amazing," said Lanciloti, who had two second-half sacks. "I've been thinking about this since we lost my sophomore year. We got killed out here my sophomore year and I just wanted to bring it back. It felt like we had so much energy."
Glenbard West ripped to a 17-0 first-quarter lead, only to see Maine South respond with 3 touchdowns -- helped by a pair of turnovers -- to claim a 21-17 advantage. Starting with Joey Richmond's 6-yard touchdown run near the end of the first half, though, the Hilltoppers pulled away with 28 straight points.
The ground game was devastating. Junior Jalen Moore, who also hauled in a 28-yard scoring pass from quarterback Braden Spiech, rushed for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns in his first varsity start. Richmond added 127 yards as Glenbard West piled up 437 yards on the ground.
"I'm gassed, but the coaches, they push us every day in practice to get better and better," said Moore, who had 30 carries. "We trusted our schemes each and every play, and our coaches put us in excellent spots to win this game. We just did what we had to do to execute, and we went out there and got the 'W.'"
The game took a significant turn when Maine South junior quarterback Luke Leongas, who rallied the Hawks with a pair of second-quarter touchdown strikes to Ryan Kilburg, aggravated a knee injury in the final minutes of the first half. Leongas didn't return after completing 18 of 27 passes for 205 yards.
In the second half the Hilltoppers limited Maine South to 59 yards. In addition to the 6 touchdowns they scored, the Hilltoppers had two long ones called back on penalties.
"Losing Luke definitely hurt us, hurt our chances," said Hawks coach Dave Inserra. "We'll evaluate it and see. He had a bad knee and he tried to do a little too much. He wants to do everything he can for this team so I can't say enough about him. That first half reflected what he can do.
"We were up against it offensively," he said. "But we've got to shore up our defense."
After retaking a 24-21 lead just before halftime, Glenbard West ate 6 minutes, 27 seconds off the clock to start the second half. The 16-play, 63-yard drive featured 15 runs capped by Samson Zander's 4-yard scoring dive.
"Quite frankly, (Maine South) beat us pretty well those games," said Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet. "It was good to see us come back and really play Glenbard West Hitter football."