Opportunistic Glenbrook South advances past Hinsdale Central
Glenbrook South's football team won the turnover battle, and the war, against Class 8A second-round playoff host Hinsdale Central.
Carmelo Livatino and Tommy MacPherson recovered fumbles, and MacPherson and Spencer Vandenberg intercepted passes for the 10th-seeded Titans.
Two of those turnovers led directly to touchdowns in Glenbrook South's 14-7 win over No. 7 Hinsdale Central on Saturday.
"I feel like it was a big part, especially the first half. We started off kind of flat, but with the turnovers we got it going, we got it moving," Livatino said.
Glenbrook South (9-2) moved to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009 while Hinsdale Central (9-2) saw its nine-game win streak snapped.
"Everything that they do well, they did well," said Hinsdale Central coach and 2003 graduate Brian Griffin. "They ran the ball, they played great defense, so absolutely, 100 percent kudos to them in how they played. The second thing is just I'm so proud of this group."
Glenbrook South will host deceptive No. 18 seed Marist (8-3), which beat No. 2 South Elgin 30-7.
"I think this is huge for our program. We've been, I think, on the verge of being a really good team," said Glenbrook South coach Dave Schoenwetter, a 1994 graduate.
"I think it's going to prove to a lot of people that Glenbrook South has a high-quality football program, which historically we have been, so to be in the quarterfinals is just terrific."
Stuffed by Hinsdale Central's Lachlan Jackson on fourth-and-2 from the Red Devils 4-yard line early in the second quarter, Glenbrook South quickly rallied after Livatino's recovery deep in Titans turf.
Nic Swanson completed a 42-yard pass to Will Collins, and Collins' 1-yard run and Franco Fernandez-Enjo's kick gave Glenbrook South a 7-0 lead with 2:28 before halftime.
The Titans intercepted two passes in those last two minutes, MacPherson returning his 35 yards. From 13 yards out Swanson hit Matt Burda in the left flat, a touchdown pass covering some 25 yards. Fernandez-Enjo pushed the halftime lead to 14-0.
"I've thrown (that pass) probably 1,000 times in my life," Swanson said. "To finally throw one that isn't just in the backyard, that was pretty cool."
Hinsdale Central capitalized on Finnian Little's midfield interception in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Billy Cernugel completed passes to Nick Fahy and Carter Contreras to reach the Titans 1-yard line, where Cernugel plunged in for the score.
Peter Deftos' kick had Hinsdale Central within 14-7 with 7:20 to play, but Glenbrook South's backfield duo of Collins and Burda, who ran for 93 and 56 yards, respectively, salted the game away.
"It's the last ride, you know?" said Hinsdale Central senior two-way lineman Josh Narcisse. "I'm sad but I'm proud of everyone on the team. I'm just so thankful to be a part of this."
Cernugel, a junior, ran for 73 yards and passed for 114.
"We really thought we needed to stretch them," he said. "Just too many mistakes, turnovers cost us. That's on me. We've got to get better. We'll be back."