Willowbrook finds its rhythm in second half
Finally, and without a choice for Willowbrook's football team.
The Warriors had nothing going and trailed by two touchdowns early in the third quarter before surging to a 32-15 victory over Downers Grove South in a key West Suburban Gold matchup Friday in Villa Park.
The offensive rhythm that's escaped Willowbrook (2-1, 1-0) throughout the season began to roll as the second half wore on. Quarterback Sam Tumilty dominated with 3 touchdown passes and a touchdown run in the game's final 19 minutes.
"(The coaches) scolded us and got on us, and got our blood flowing with that passion," said Tumilty, who threw for 181 yards and ran for 94. "We knew we had to keep our heads up and stay positive. We just had to keep working on offense and stop them on 'D.'"
Leading 9-3 at halftime, Downers South (1-2, 0-1) opened the third quarter in a Wildcat formation with Jayden Lambert behind center, and he marched the Mustangs down the field. Rahshon Murff, who carried the ball 23 times for 72 yards, capped the drive with his second short scoring burst to give Downers South a 15-3 lead.
That's when the Warriors came alive.
"During halftime we really got our stuff together and really just bounced back," said Warriors offensive lineman Ryan Ranieri. "We were a little shocked, but our team is very resilient."
Tumilty started the rally with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nick Mabutas and added a 1-yard scoring run to give the Warriors an 18-15 lead after three quarters.
"As ugly as it was and as much as it didn't go the way we wanted, our guys battled and hung in," said Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth.
Two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Everett Stubblefield put the game out of reach.
"Once we scored our first touchdown, that's when the momentum started going," Stubblefield said. "That's how we hope to look this year. Score a lot of touchdowns and beat teams early in the game."
Injuries and penalties piled up for Downers South in what became a frustrating second half.
"We obviously needed to get a stop in the second half and we couldn't get it," said Mustangs coach Mark Molinari. "We had some injuries that we couldn't fill in. We had some sophomores get some valuable minutes but you need your seniors in a game like that."