York remains perfect on season with victory vs. Glenbard West
In 1920, York ushered in the inaugural season of the football program.
The Dukes, one of the oldest programs in the state, won five of their seven games in their first season.
One hundred and two years later, the 2022 York football team is looking to find perfection for the first time -- the Dukes posted a 7-0-2 record in 1932 under legendary coach Clarence D. East.
The Dukes took a big step toward perfection on Friday night.
In one of the biggest regular season home games in program history -- perhaps second only to 2006 -- the Dukes gained another milestone by defeating state powerhouse Glenbard West for the second season in a row.
Senior quarterback Matt Vezza tossed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Specht midway through the fourth quarter to lead York to a 17-13 victory over Glenbard West in West Suburban Silver play.
Before a capacity crowd estimated at 7,000 fans, the Dukes, ranked No. 4 in this week's Class 8A poll, stuck to a simple offensive game plan and played tough defense to knock off the vaunted Hilltoppers.
Glenbard West senior Aidan Murphy nearly saved the day, blocking a punt with 1:39 left in the game to help the Hilltoppers start their final drive at York's 20-yard line. But Glenbard West quarterback Korey Tai rolled to his right, on the first play of the drive, tossing a pass into a horde of players that was intercepted by Matt Sutter to seal the victory for the Dukes.
With the win, the Dukes (7-0, 4-0) equaled their undefeated start from lat season, when they also beat the Hilltoppers 12-10 in Week 6 in Glen Ellyn. The Dukes' defense bailed them out in the end, finishing with two sacks and one gigantic game-saving interception.
"It was a great atmosphere tonight," York coach Mike Fitzgerald said. "Our defense has always stood tall…Our defense found a way to come through. I had a lot of confidence and faith on that last drive. It all worked out."
After missing nearly of last week due to an ankle injury, York senior running back Kelly Watson emphatically announced his return to the field. As an impressive drone show was attracting a lot of attention off to his left, Watson caused all eyes to stare at his own impressive show. The 6-foot 180-pounder broke loose for a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to give the Dukes a 10-7 lead with 4:06 left until halftime.
Vezza struggled in the first half, but he completed his first four second-half passes to finish 11 of 16 passing for 150 yards and a touchdown along with an interception. Vezza ran for 45 yards on 13 carries, but he said the game winning TD wiped away all the mistakes.
"That (touchdown) felt great," Vezza said. "I made a good throw to Specht and he ran a great route and made a great catch and finished the play. It was great blocking by the offensive line on that route."
Late in the second quarter, the Hilltoppers (5-1, 2-1) quickly answered Watson's touchdown by marching down the field for a tying field goal to put the two teams right where they started the game -- tied. The two teams were stuck in a feeling-out process in the first quarter but the second quarter yielded all the first-half scoring, with 20 points scored in the final nine minutes. Tai, who passed for 74 yards and ran for 18 yards, spurted loose for a 5-yard TD run to set up Watson's touchdown.
Glenbard West, which came into the game averaging 41.8 points per game, scored just one touchdown and tacked on two field goals. Running back Julius Ellens supplied most of the offense for the Hilltoppers with 22 attempts for 88 yards.