Glenbard West offense passes another test
Everybody knows that Glenbard West has one of the best power rushing games in Chicagoland and perhaps the state.
But another local media outlet questioned the merits of the Hilltoppers' passing game this week. That proved to be a big problem for Oak Park-River Forest, which Glenbard West played Friday.
Junior quarterback Braden Spiech connected with senior wide receiver William Halkyard six times to the tune of 184 yards -- including an 84-yard reception in the second quarter that set up a 2-yard Joey Richmond touchdown -- to propel the Hilltoppers to an easy 42-0 victory.
With that win Glenbard West ended the regular season a perfect 9-0 and 6-0 in the West Suburban Silver.
"There was an article that said Glenbard West can't win games because they don't have a passing game," said Spiech, who completed 8 of 9 passes for 217 yards. "We kind of took that to heart this week and we were like, let's show them what we actually are.
"So when you beat people down on the run so much, it opens things up in the air, and today we just executed."
Halkyard's 84-yard reception was a play-action throw up the middle that he caught at roughly midfield, then made a desperate bid for the end zone, getting caught just short of the goal line.
"Braden threw a great ball, and the safety flew over the top, and I was left wide open," Halkyard said.
He didn't score, but that wasn't a problem. Spiech handed off to Richmond, who covered the last 2 yards. The point after was blocked, however.
After OPRF's ensuing drive went nowhere, the Hilltoppers got the ball on their own 39. Two pass plays from Spiech to Halkyard, and they were on the 22. Three plays later, junior back Jalen Moore was in the end zone. This time coach Chad Hetlet decided to go for the conversion, and Spiech got it … with a throw to Halkyard in the left corner of the end zone.
Strangely, those were the only points the pair collected. Moore had 3 touchdowns, and Richmond, junior Samson Zander and senior Nic Seifert each had one. Seifert led that group with 71 yards on 8 rushes; Moore had 55 on 11.
"We wanted to come out and give our quarterback and opportunity to make some plays, and Braden did a great job, and Halkyard had a huge game," Hetlet said. "So it gives the kids confidence and we're real proud of our offensive line for protecting them. I think we executed extremely well."
Playoff pairings will be announced Saturday evening and the Hilltoppers are undefeated. What's gotten them to this point?
"Team chemistry is amazing," Hetlet said. "These kids wanted to put Glenbard West in that column of being 9-0. It's the senior class and their belief and their attitude and how they prepare themselves."
Added senior defensive lineman Dave Lanciloti: "I've never been 9-0 as a Hitter. It means the world to me. I've worked all off-season to get to this point."