Glenbrook North football goes out a winner
Murphy Mulvihill was uninterested in talking about the 6 touchdowns he had a hand in scoring.
"It's definitely not at the top of my priority list," the Glenbrook North quarterback said after the Spartans' 45-14 Central Suburban League South victory over Niles West on Oct. 22 in Northbrook.
"The stats might point to me having a good game, but that's a team game if I've ever seen one," Mulvihill said.
A team co-captain along with J.R. Flood, Nate Glazebrook and Ryan Henschel, Mulvihill was among many the seniors playing their last high school football game.
The cliché goes that only one team ends its season with a win. Actually there's a bunch of them. Those that miss the playoffs remain grateful for one final chance to get it done with their buddies.
"It was amazing," said Glazebrook, who missed six straight games with an injury before playing left guard on Friday.
"I couldn't have asked for anything better, in terms of the situation -- senior night, it's the homecoming game, it's the last game of my high school career, and I'm so happy I get to be a part of it," he said.
Glenbrook North (3-6, 1-4) scored the game's first 21 points and led 45-6 entering the fourth quarter after three unanswered third-quarter touchdown runs by Mulvihill, two of them on sneaks behind center Patrick Mahoney.
Mulvihill opened the scoring on a 5-yard keeper, too, and passed for touchdowns of 31 and 19 yards to sophomore Jack Philbin, who caught 6 passes for 107 yards. Mulvihill completed 15 of 26 passes for 236 yards.
"We tried moving around the ball," said Mulvihill, dealing behind an offensive line that included his younger brother, Max, at left tackle.
Quinn Clarke ran for 75 yards and caught 5 passes for 75 yards with Henschel adding 73 yards receiving. Spartans kicker Michael Cosentino converted all 6 extra-point tries and hit a 30-yard field goal.
Defensively, Glenbrook North's Dylan Weiss intercepted a pass and nearly had another. Trevor Brocato's hit on Niles West quarterback Jack Leons forced a fumble that Flood returned 58 yards to set up the first Glenbrook North touchdown. Seniors Kade Wilson and Jonathan Abraskin also recovered fumbles. Philbin led the Spartans with 10 tackles.
"I loved tonight that we actually brought our pads to the game," coach Matt Purdy said of his team's physical play. "We've been pretty quiet lately with our pads, and tonight -- just throwing a guy like Glazebrook in, he hadn't played since Week 2. And to have him come out, several times you really heard him play, and across the board."
Purdy said the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Leons was a big concern, but the Spartans' defense contained the Division I prospect to 156 yards passing and a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Jadden Miller with the game long decided.
"Purdy says it best," Glazebrook said. "Just imposing your will on the opponent."
As it did Week 5 at Glenbrook South, Niles West (2-7, 0-5) displayed solid individual talent in Leons, Miller, Sam Burns, Joe Pantazis, Andrew Mikos and others. First-year Wolves coach Nick Torresso appreciated his team for "allowing me to be a part of their family" and applauded their compete level.
"I couldn't be prouder of this group," Torresso said. "They've set a bar for the guys that are to come here, and they've made changes that people have to look at Niles West football and not just turn the page now. I couldn't be more grateful for them."
As Torresso said that, some of his players were in tears. It is bittersweet, the seniors' finale.
"I'm sad that it's over," Flood said. "I loved every second of it; it was a lot of fun. The friendships I was able to make with everybody, I loved so much. It was a good ride."
"Three years varsity football, it's kind of crazy it's over," said Henschel, who had the game's longest pass reception, of 36 yards.
"This season, wins and losses are one thing, but with all my friends playing football, it's a memory I'll never forget," he said.
A key to a successful season is the offseason. Purdy was encouraged by what he saw on Oct. 22.
"Our kids really executed well, and it's a lot of great stuff to build on and we're excited to start to work for next year," he said. "But then you sit there and you (think of) all these seniors who have been around forever, and you know how much you're going to miss them as they walk off the field tonight."