Downers Grove North shuts out Willowbrook

Updated 9/3/2022 12:08 AM

After notching four sacks in the season opener against Hoffman Estates, Downers Grove North's Ben Bielawski once again was creating havoc in the backfield Friday night.

But it was the play of the entire Downers Grove North defense that truly stood out in a 30-0 road victory over Willowbrook in a West Suburban Conference crossover.


The Trojans (2-0) yielded just four first downs in the game while totaling four sacks, an interception by Owen Thulin and a safety by Manny Adefila.

"A goose egg is awesome, especially on the road," said Bielawski, who finished with two sacks. "Our back eight put the clamps on and that allowed everyone to have a good game. I'm proud of my boys, it was a great effort.

"I'm sure all of the guys are excited. But we still have a lot of work to do. It's right back to work, we have a tough Downers Grove South team next week."

The visitors broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Sam Reichert to Ethan Thulin. The senior wideout finished with six catches for 71 yards while Reichert threw for 104 yards and ran for 26 more.

"They've (Willowbrook) been the standard in the West Suburban Gold," Thulin said. "I don't think we've reached our full potential yet but we are getting out on the right foot like last year. Now we have to keep it rolling.

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"Our senior leadership, we have to step up. This is our third time around. We have a chance to do something special."

After Adefila's safety, Josh Lambert scored on a 12-yard run to make it 19-0 at halftime. He later added a 3-yard touchdown before Noah Battle wrapped up the scoring with a 4-yard TD at the end of third quarter.

"Our defense was unbelievable," DGN coach Joe Horeni said. "It was a great job by our guys. Our defense really battled and gave our offense some short fields.

"We return a lot of guys. During that COVID year, we started six sophomores and they are seniors now. We just have to continue to get better and get ready for the crosstown game which is always tough."

The Warriors (0-2), who also lost their first two games last season, were shut out for the second straight contest. AJ Palicki completed 12-of-21 passes for 80 yards with Joe Tumilty bringing in five receptions.

"I told our guys, we've been here before," Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth said, "though it was different the way those games were lost (last season). We have an opportunity now with conference play this week.

"We just have to move the chains and get a rhythm going. I thought our defense played well early. But with some of the offensive weapons they have, it's tough to give them a short field and get stops."

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