Titans clinch second straight playoff berth, leave Trevians in tough spot
A lot rode on the Oct. 7 football game between Glenbrook South and host New Trier.
A sixth Glenbrook South victory would clinch consecutive playoff berths for the first time since the Titans' 10-season streak from 2005-14.
A fourth New Trier loss would mean no playoff wiggle room with two games left -- and Central Suburban League South heavy Maine South awaiting in Week 9.
And so it was, Glenbrook South winning 24-7 at Robert Naughton Field in Northfield.
Glenbrook South (6-1, 2-1 CSL South) sent fullback Hank Leahy and tailback Chuck Gottfred both over 100 yards rushing. Gottfred added a key interception on defense, one of three against New Trier (3-4, 2-1).
"I think for our kids this is a really big deal," said Glenbrook South coach Dave Schoenwetter, who has now coached and played for consecutive Titans playoff teams.
"I think that they saw what happened last year and this has proved to them that the program has just continued forward and they're a great class as well, like last year's class. I think it's going to give them a lot of confidence in this season and in life, to be honest," he said.
"I think that really speaks to the kind of culture we have here," said Drew Duffy, Titans co-captain with linemate Johnny Rolfes, linebacker Alex Pappas and tight end-defensive end Jacque Gariepy, a game-long problem for Trevians quarterback Patrick Heneghan.
"We have incredible leaders, hardworking athletes and a great coaching staff," Duffy said. "And all of that has led to us making the playoffs twice in a row now. It's an accomplishment I'm very proud of and I think all of our team has worked very hard for that."
New Trier receiver Miles Cremascoli had a huge game with 8 catches for 174 yards, 22 yards a catch. The Trevians' homecoming also saw the varsity debut of 6-foot-5 sophomore wideout Trey Meyers, who caught 7 passes for 54 yards with a touchdown.
"It's definitely a little intimidating knowing that Maine South is one of the people that we have to beat," said Cremascoli, whose Trevians visit Niles North at 7 p.m. Friday. "But I feel like if we work and just keep improving we could have a good chance."
Glenbrook South opened the contest with a patented 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that took more than 9 minutes. Gottfred ran for a 10-yard touchdown, part of 116-yard game. Jacob Priegnitz added the kick.
Scoring on three straight possessions, the Titans led 17-0 at halftime after Priegnitz's 31-yard field goal, and Hunter Kreske's 43-yard pass to receiver Griffin Dahiya at 6:35 of the second quarter.
Going solely to the air in the second half, the Trevians moved 68 yards and Heneghan hit Meyers for a 3-yard touchdown catch to cut the deficit to 17-7 at 3:24 of the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, a 33-yard Cremascoli catch helped send New Trier to Glenbrook South's 21-yard line. Three plays later, Gottfred came out of center field to intercept a pass at his 1-yard line and return it 22 yards out of harm's way.
"It was Cover-2, so I just knew I had to get over the top on the (receiver)," said Gottfred, whose pick joined others by Pappas and Tyrone Colton, who made a team-high 7 tackles. "I messed up a couple times, but then I locked in. I got over the top of the guy, and I happened to make the play."
New Trier coach Brian Doll liked his staff's halftime adjustments that got the Trevians back into the game.
"They (Glenbrook South) made great ones, too, but I felt like we were in a position where the momentum was starting to swing when it was 17-7 and we had the ball before we threw the interception," Doll said. "If you score there all of a sudden it's an interesting game, 17-14 with still 7 minutes left in the game."
Dahiya caught 3 passes for 101 yards, but it was his decoy route that helped Glenbrook South score its clinching touchdown with 2:48 to play.
Dahiya's fly pattern down the right sideline cleared out the New Trier defense, allowing Kreske to dump the ball to Leahy for a 44-yard gain to the Trevian 28-yard line.
Moments later Tommy MacPherson went into motion from slot left, took Kreske's handoff, and scooted 7 yards for the 24-7 final score.
"It's been a nice start to the season," Schoenwetter said.
After the team breakdown, Heneghan spent 15 more minutes throwing passes to Cremascoli and senior receiver Charles Olges. Tight spirals, 50-yard bombs.
"Just not satisfied with how we played," Heneghan said. "We were on a three-game win streak; we were really hot right now, and then to come out here, last home game for these seniors, last home game of the season -- just not satisfied with how I played and I just want to keep building and building, because I know this team is special and we can do something with these next two games."
Like they say, even with Maine South in Week 9, it's why you play the games.
"We have the talent," Olges said, "we have everything we need, we've just got to execute, I feel like. And if we do that, I think we can come out on top."