Looking inward keeps working for Glenbard West
You might think the old cliché of focusing solely on your next football opponent would appeal to Glenbard West.
Nah. The Hilltoppers would rather focus on themselves.
That seems to be working out. Glenbard West dispatched host Lyons Twp. 42-0 on Friday to improve to 7-0 and 4-0 in the West Suburban Silver.
"We're focusing on ourselves, getting better each and every week and every day, just working harder and harder for that conference championship and the greatest goal, a state championship," said junior linebacker Brandon Nowinski, whose 78-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown at the end of the first half was the breaking point.
Added senior linebacker Jonathan Yangas, who also had a fumble recovery that set up another second-half score: "We're focusing on ourselves, getting better every day and getting better at practice. We want to play for each other, and go out there and win conference and eventually hopefully state."
That introspective inward focus resulted in the Hilltoppers' third shutout of the season. They also got 186 yards rushing on 14 carries by junior running back Jaylen Moore, which included touchdown runs of 57 and 21 yards.
Senior running back Joey Richmond added 60 yards on 7 carries and touchdown runs of 2 and 29 yards. Junior back Samson Zander contributed a 23-yard touchdown run and 30 yards on 4 carries.
On the other side of the ball, the defense was stout, holding the Lions (3-4, 1-3) to just 148 total yards, and only 81 on the ground. The defense also forced LT to punt seven times, which was almost as many its 9 first downs. Senior quarterback Blaise Reichert rushed 16 times for 44 yards and completed 12 of 17 passes for another 67.
But it wasn't near enough.
"Our opponents need to be a faceless opponent, and it's got to be more about what we do and not what they do," Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said. "If we do our things right, we should be able to take care of business on the football field, and the kids have bought into that."
The key play of the game was Nowinski's fumble recovery at the end of the first half. Crucial, because the Hilltoppers were only up 14-0 at the time and Lyons' offense was showing signs of life.
The Lions marched from their 26 all the way to the Glenbard West 19 in nine plays. The 10th was bad luck, however. Lyons fumbled on a run attempt. Nowinski picked up the ball and was off to the races, scampering 78 yards down his own sideline.
"We've been working all summer and all fall on scooping it up and scoring, not just falling on it," Nowinski said.
Yangas, meanwhile, recovered a fumble late in the third quarter on the Lyons 21. One play later, Moore was in the end zone for the second time. Senior Matt Doran's extra point set the final score and prompted a fourth-quarter running clock.