Willowbrook gets jump on York
Willowbrook started fast on Friday.
Now the Warriors get the chance to finish strong in the playoffs.
After jumping to an early 2-touchdown lead, Willowbrook clinched a fourth straight playoff berth with Friday's 35-21 victory over York in their West Suburban Conference crossover football matchup in Villa Park.
"We definitely started fast," said Warriors senior Sam Tumilty, who rushed for 105 yards, threw for 195 and caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Everett Stubblefield on a trick play.
"We got our offense going a little bit and that helps a lot," Tumilty said. "We always kind of feel we're in control, but obviously they made some plays. We did a good job handling it."
Set up by a 55-yard pass from Tumilty to Stubblefield, the Warriors (6-1) scored 4 plays into the game on the first of three rushing touchdowns by Ta'Vion Geanes. Willowbrook forced a three-and-out, then went 70 yards in less than three minutes and went up 14-0 on Tumilty's 6-yard pass to Alessio Battaglia.
York (3-4) played even with the Warriors the rest of the way but never stopped playing catch-up.
"That's been our thing all season," said York coach Mike Fitzgerald, whose team needs to beat Oak Park and Proviso West to become playoff eligible. "We've spotted pretty much everyone a score or two before we get going and I guess that starts with me. We've got to figure out something. We've got to come out of the gates faster."
York pulled within 28-14 early in the fourth quarter on a 24-yard screen pass from Max Assaad, who completed 25 of 38 passes for 204 yards, to Nick Conroy. The Dukes kept the momentum on the next possession with Matt Kavanaugh's interception in Willowbrook territory.
The Warriors held, though, and scored when Tumilty handed off to Stubblefield, who threw back to Tumilty. He raced down the sideline for the 65-yard touchdown that put Willowbrook safely ahead 35-14 with about four minutes left.
Geanes, who had touchdown runs of 6, 5 and 3 yards, rushed for 23 of his 59 yards on Willowbrook's final two drives to help kill the clock.
"It feels great to be in the playoffs and have another week with my brothers," Geanes said. "Being a senior I enjoy getting that opportunity to play with my guys and get better."
Assaad threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Owen Pechous and Patrick Kastner capped a late drive with a 1-yard score, but it wasn't enough to slow the Warriors' drive to another playoff berth.
"The last couple weeks we've been able to start fast, which has been good," said Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth. "What we couldn't do early in the year -- getting into a flow and a tempo -- we were able to do those first couple drives."