Glenbard West devises strategy to protect its home field
There's nothing worse than playing football on a drenched Duchon Field.
Legendary it is, but Glenbard West's grass turf takes a beating every season. And after Friday's deluge, Duchon was on the verge of being reduced to total mud with York coming to town on Saturday.
The Hilltoppers and athletic director Joe Kain, however, came up with a plan. They used four tarps they had on site and borrowed a baseball infield tarp from Glenbard South to cover the bulk of Duchon's playing surface.
The football players spread the tarps on the field Friday after practice, then removed the tarps after their team breakfast Saturday morning.
The middle of the field fared brilliantly during Glenbard West's 47-7 win over York, although the area outside the numbers got a little torn up. Considering the circumstances -- and the potential for long-term damage to the field -- the tarps saved the day.
"The field would have been destroyed without those tarps," said Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet. "It made a huge difference."
On the heels of three straight losses, it's rivalry week for Wheaton North (2-3, 0-3 DuKane Conference) and a Friday trip to Wheaton Warrenville South (3-2, 1-2).
Despite the losing streak, Falcons coach Joe Wardynski believes the timing is perfect.
"We may have lost three straight, but at 7:30 p.m. Friday no one's going to care about the records," Wardynski said. "Everybody's going to be playing for the rivalry."
Both teams have struggled in DKC play. While the Falcons lost to St. Charles North, Lake Park and Glenbard North, WW South lost its last two games to St. Charles East and Batavia.
Tough games loom on the horizon for the rivals, meaning Friday's cross-town matchup borders on must-win territory.
"For sure, both teams are in need of a win," Wardynski said. "But it's going to be more about beating your cross-town rival than it'll be about records."
Hinsdale South (3-2, 2-0 WSC Gold) played itself back into playoff contention with last week's 32-27 victory over Downers Grove South, a win that allowed the Hornets to keep the prize of the rivalry -- the Cannon -- for a third straight year.
On top of that, this weekend Hinsdale South will play host to what's virtually a conference championship game against Willowbrook (4-1, 3-0).
"The road to a championship goes through our house, and you can't ask for more than that," said Hornets coach Mike Barry.
Willowbrook is the two-time defending WSC Gold champions. Hinsdale South last won the title in 2015.
Barry knows his team must play its best football of the season to upset the Warriors and prevent a three-peat.
"We righted the ship, but we still have work to do," Barry said. "Willowbrook is going to be tough to beat."
Add A. Tude!
Glenbard East coach John Walters and his student training staff were presented with an Illinois High School Association sportsmanship award on Saturday.
The award, signed by IHSA executive director Craig Anderson, credited "an exemplary act of sportsmanship at an IHSA interscholastic contest."
Besides receiver Deon Cook's 4 catches for 84 yards and a touchdown and good defensive numbers put up by linemen Connor Peterson and Gabe Jamieson and linebacker Doug Pham, that may have been Saturday's highlight. South Elgin's 35-7 victory ended the Rams' 16-game Upstate Eight Conference winning streak.
Sick the last two weeks, Walters could use a medical team himself. He commended the job done by head trainer Chris Murphy and his staff.
"We are so lucky and fortunate not only to have Chris but to have student trainers every year who are at practice every day to help our boys make sure they have everything they need," Walters said. "I wish and hope that every school had a training staff with the student trainers that we do. It helps out the function of our athletic program so much."