Downers Grove South snaps 7-year losing streak to Willowbrook
In a clash of West Suburban Gold foes, it was a late game push that gave Downers Grove South the edge, beating Willowbrook for the first time in seven years 28-13.
Downers Grove South (1-3, 1-0) appeared to be on the ropes late in the second quarter. Willowbrook had the ball second and goal from the DGS four-yard line after a costly turnover. However, Mustangs junior safety Willaim Potter recovered well on play action and picked off a Joey Tumilty pass for a touchback to preserve a one-point lead.
After the game, Potter was awarded the Mustang's MVP belt.
"I saw their quarterback pull it, then look to my left and saw their guy leak through," Potter said. "I went and jumped it. We work on that all the time in practice."
After the halftime break, the Mustangs ran the ball well, gaining chunk plays on the ground. Downers Grove South coach Mark Molinari said that getting back to running the ball was the catalyst in this victory.
"The first two drives we ran the ball really well," Molinari said. "We kinda got away from that in the second quarter, trying to throw a little bit and we didn't make good decisions with the ball. We know they play a lot of guys two ways and they had some injuries. We said, ``If we wanna win it, we have to go out and pound it."
Willowbrook (1-3, 0-1 West Suburban Gold) ran an offense every bit as creative as it was explosive. Utilizing formations not often seen, like the William&Mary spread and the swinging gate, Willowbrook head coach Nick Hildreth was able to get the ball in space to offensive Swiss Army knife Joey Tumilty. Hildreth said that some of that was out of necessity.
"Our starting quarterback was out," Hildreth said. "We had to put some other things in to give ourselves the best opportunity to win. We wanted to get the ball in our athletes' hands in space. I think guys had opportunities in spots, as some injuries started to mount there. We didn't capitalize on things like at the end of the first half, field goal, a big third and long and turnovers."
For Downers Grove South, this was the first time the Mustangs had beaten Willowbrook since 2015. With the conference now wide open, Molinari said that he isn't looking too far ahead after his team's first win of the season.
"They came out in a polecat offense and were doing some different things," Molinari said. "They caught us a couple of times early. Coach [Dan] Bielawski, our defensive coordinator, did a great job to keep things in front of us and to corral [Tumilty]...They've been the king of the conference for a while and we've been in second place. We haven't won anything yet. But, this puts us in a spot where we control our own destiny."
Downers Grove South will play next September 23rd at Proviso East. Willowbrook will host Lyden September 23rd. Both games are scheduled for a 7:30 kickoff.