Downers Grove North wins rivalry game
A shortened spring campaign was never going to be a perfect scenario for any Illinois football team.
But to end with a sixth consecutive win against its crosstown rival, it doesn't get much better then that for Downers Grove North.
Spurred on by an early special teams touchdown, the Trojans went on to defeat Downers Grove South 23-7 in the season finale.
"I can feel my insides bursting with joy," said senior two-way lineman Brendan Truett. "I'll remember this moment forever. Just a lot of good memories, I love this team.
"This season meant a lot. We worked all summer hoping for a season. So it just felt good to be out there with our brothers and to pull out this amazing victory in the end."
Less than three minutes in, Daniel Bancoro blocked a punt and the ball fell into the arms of Timmy Ryan, who ran seven yards for the score and a 6-0 advantage.
After Eli Reed answered with a 16-yard touchdown catch from Ryan Dawson, Pedro Ibarra gave DGN (2-2) the lead for good with a 20-yard field goal.
"This was every senior's dream," said fellow Trojans two-way lineman Drew Bielawski about going out with a win. "The difference in this game is we started out faster then in the others.
"This season wasn't supposed to even exist so we just went and played our hearts out."
Ethan Thulin added a 32-yard TD reception from Sam Reichert in the second quarter and Khalil Copeland rounded out the scoring with an eight-yard run early in the fourth.
"It's fun," DGN coach Joe Horeni said. "DGN/DGS is always a good battle. It's always competitive, that's what is great about the rivalry. I went to school at South and I love all those coaches, they were my coaches. And the kids know each other, they played Panthers football together.
"These seniors have been through so much. It really says a lot about them, even with our pause, they stayed focused and met expectations. It was a great learning opportunity for our younger kids to see what it takes to be successful."
Bielawski had a sack and Nick Hinkle notched an interception.
Reed finished with seven catches for 111 yards for the Mustangs (3-2) while Dawson completed 17-of-25 passes for 180 yards.
And though the loss snapped a three-game winning streak for DGS, the focus was on the team's 11 seniors.
"Those guys love football and they love Downers Grove South football," said coach Mark Molinari. "Those seniors led us; we had seven sophomores up and they got to see what leadership looks like and what we need to do to turn the corner. They gave us everything they had and they are leaving a talented group of juniors and sophomores behind."