Ellens has day to remember in Hilltoppers' big win
Glenbard West running back Julius Ellens said the goal of the Hilltoppers' ground game is to gain 4 yards a carry.
Ellens was off by about 10 yards a pop on Saturday.
Despite playing on a muddy Duchon Field that obscured uniform numbers while still in the first quarter, the 170-pound junior hit Glenbrook South with 312 yards rushing on 21 carries, with touchdown runs of 4, 14, 22, 64 and 76 yards.
Winning the line of scrimmage on offense and defense, No. 5 seed Glenbard West beat No. 12 Glenbrook South 42-0 in the Class 8A second-round football game in Glen Ellyn.
"Week 4 against Proviso West I had 5 touchdowns, but nothing like this -- the yards that I had in this game, the atmosphere, the field and stuff like that. This is just something different," Ellens said.
It's also a return to form for Glenbard West (10-1), moving to the 8A quarterfinals next week at No. 13 Maine South (8-2).
"The seniors wanted to make a return to glory with our program. We haven't been to the quarters since 2016," said "Hitters" coach Chad Hetlet. "They played with a lot of heart. I was blown away by how our kids played, to be honest with you. (Glenbrook South) is a really good team and we made them not look so good today."
Without throwing a pass Glenbard West scored on its first six possessions, 14 points in each of the first three quarters. The Hilltoppers initiated a running clock at 6:36 of the third quarter when Ellens slogged 16 yards to his 40-yard line, broke a tackle and took off from there for a 76-yard touchdown run. Kicker Marcello Diomede, 6-for-6 on extra points against a flag-stiffening cross wind, made the score 42-0.
"They ran what we expected," said Glenbrook South coach Dave Schoenwetter, whose Titans ended at 9-2.
"They did a terrific job running off tackle, and I thought their belly lead play was great as well. They kind of just kept going back to the well on that. They just did a great job. I know our kids played hard, but they executed better than us," he said.
Leading 14-0 after a quarter as Ellens followed linemen Chris Terek, Jack Baer, Luke Gadomski, Brady Cavan, Jack Anderson and tight end Filip Maciorowski, Joey Pope scored the sole non-Ellens touchdown on a 40-yard run that made the score 21-0 at 6:02 of the second quarter.
On Glenbrook South's next play from scrimmage the Hilltoppers' Michael Short kept driving to sack Titans quarterback Hunter Kreske and force a fumble recovered by Brandon Kud at the Titan 22-yard line.
On the next play Ellens went the distance for Glenbard West's second touchdown in 19 seconds for a 28-0 halftime lead.
"I'm just following my O-line," Ellens said. "They're the best O-line I've ever played with."
Starting up front with the likes Erik Lonvick and the Wisconsin-bound Terek, Glenbard West's defense allowed 127 yards and 5 first downs. The Hilltoppers recovered 2 fumbles, intercepted a pass and held Glenbrook South's consistent 100-yard rusher, Chuck Gottfred, to 48 yards on 11 carries.
"We've just got to keep pounding," Terek said. "We've got to play Glenbard West-style football, we've got to get after it every play, and that's just how we do it around here."
St. Francis 42, Evergreen Park 0:
It's not supposed to be this easy, be it the second round of the Class 4A state football playoffs.
But St. Francis coach Bob McMillen was quick to point out his team's 42-0 thrashing of Evergreen Park Saturday afternoon wasn't exactly easy.
It just looked that way, despite initial rain and constant high winds.
"We don't think it was an easy game," McMillen said. "That's a good football team over there. I thought our boys played well. We made some mistakes that we've got to clean up. It's nice to move on to the third round."
The Spartans advanced to travel to Rochelle next weekend. McMillen and his coaches traveled there Friday to watch the Hubs dispatch Johnsburg 34-22.
On Saturday, Evergreen Park tried an onside kick to start the game.
Poor decision. On its first play from scrimmage, St. Francis junior quarterback Alessio Milivojevic hit senior receiver Dash Dorsey for a 65-yard touchdown. It was a screen pass to the right, and Dorsey lived up to his first name, outracing the Mustangs' defensive backfield.
"It's always good to start with a touchdown on the first play, to get the momentum on your side and keep it rolling," Milivojevic said. "We saw no one over him, tossed it over to him and he did the rest."
Added Dorsey, who will play at Kent State next year: "I put all my trust in my teammates that they could go out there and block for me, and I knew I had to be patient and read my where my linemen were going."
Things would not get better for the Mustangs. After going three-and-out on their first possession, the Spartans put together a 61-yard drive covering 3:09 that culminated in senior Amari Head's 3-yard touchdown.
But wait ... there's more. With 4:18 left to go before the half, St. Francis blocked an Evergreen Park punt that rolled and rolled and finally ended up in the hands of senior Nick Duzansky, an Oregon recruit, who walked into the end zone.
A Milivojevic-to-Dorsey 23-yard touchdown pass just before the half essentially cinched the game for the Spartans (10-1).
"We've been working for months and months throughout the whole year, and we're really confident in each other," Milivojevic said "We just trust each other knowing we're going to be on the routes and knowing where we're going to be on our blocks. Everything else like that."
Confidence also comes from what senior lineman TJ McMillen did roughly two hours before gametime, walking the field in deep contemplation. What was he thinking about?
"I was walking through every single run play, passing play, OK, what do I do here?" said McMillen, an Illinois recruit.
-- Gregg Voss
IC Catholic Prep 42, Stillman Valley 14:
Sevens were wild in a windy Elmhurst on Saturday afternoon.
With Denzell Gibson scoring four touchdowns, IC Catholic Prep reached the state quarterfinals for the seventh consecutive season with a 42-14 Class 3A second-round win over Stillman Valley.
The Knights (10-1), who have won three state championships during this stretch, advance to travel to undefeated Princeton in Class 3A.
"That says a lot (about our program)," said Gibson, who wears number 7. "A lot of people look at us as the underdogs but we have just as many skilled players and elite players as any top team in the state.
"This is a school of grinding, of greatness, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
ICCP pulled away late after nursing a one-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Gibson scored on a 20-yard screen pass from Dennis Mandala a little over a minute into the period and later added a 20-yard touchdown run.
Gibson, a senior who finished with 192 yards on 19 carries, had given the Knights a 15-14 lead with a four-yard score just before halftime after Stillman Valley (9-2) rattled off 14 unanswered points.
He also found the end zone on a one-yard run in the first quarter.
"I couldn't do it without the other 10 guys," Gibson said. "Those are my brothers and they are working just as hard as I am to get the win. All the credit to them. We couldn't do a lot with the wind so we knew we had to grind it out.
"We knew this was going to be a tough game, Stillman Valley is a great program. They know what it takes to get a state championship, they have five state titles like us. And we knew they wanted it just as much as we did. So we had to execute our game plan and we were able to come out with a win."
Malik Gray added a pair of rushing touchdowns in the fourth, from one and 22-yards out. The Knights' defense also did its part, holding the Cardinals, who attempted just two passes, to one first down over the final 24 minutes.
Kaleb Ellis had an interception for ICCP, which notched its third playoff victory over Stillman Valley since 2018. The win also marked the 100th of head coach Bill Krefft's career.
"It's a credit to the kids," said Krefft, who didn't know he was a win short of that milestone going in, "though we don't really talk about the quarterfinals here. It is just the next game. It's more about being honored to have another game together. Having these extra games with the kids means everything to me."
Krefft was proud of how his team overcame adversity in tough conditions against a storied program.
"We say, the road to easy street always goes through the sewers," Krefft said. "Whether it's the weather -- the wind and the rain is going to happen around here at some point -- or the opponent, you are going to face adversity and it's how you respond."
-- Scott Schmid