Football: Glenbrook South rules all three phases of playoff opener in 40-7 win over Homewood-Flossmoor
Scoring an impressive victory over a traditional football power, Glenbrook South earned the chance to play another.
The No. 12 seed Titans ruled all three phases of the game against No. 21 Homewood-Flossmoor in the Oct. 28 Class 8A playoff opener, beating the Vikings 40-7 in Glenview.
An 8A quarterfinalist last season, Glenbrook South advanced to play No. 5 seed Glenbard West at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Duchon Field in Glen Ellyn. The Hilltoppers (9-1), who beat defending 8A champion No. 28 Lockport 38-7, have won three state championships in five title-game appearances.
"I obviously thought we had a tough quadrant that we got put into. I'm just really excited to see where we stand against all these teams, because our program, I feel, is on the rise," Titans coach Dave Schoenwetter said in John Davis Stadium after last Friday's running-clock win.
"Just getting to play H-F and then getting to play the winner of Glenbard West and Lockport, it's just another chance to see where we're at. We hope to play our best football game and win or lose, we'll know where our program is in the state," he said.
Glenbrook South (9-1) scored on all five first-half possessions and its first six overall against Homewood-Flossmoor (6-4), adding Tommy MacPherson's 95-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
The Titans won the turnover battle 3-1, ran for 227 yards and limited the Vikings to 56 yards rushing courtesy of 3 sacks of Vikings quarterback Cameron Oglesby by Patrick Downing, Luke Marino and Jacque Gariepy, who forced and recovered a fumble on his.
"It was a great night," Schoenwetter said. "I thought that our guys executed in all three phases of the game. I think that's the first game this season where we really felt we played all 48 minutes and executed from start to finish. We were 1-0 on every play, which is our mantra."
Special teams set a tone. Sophomore Jacob Priegnitz's momentum-boosting pooch kickoff started the game, smothered by senior linebacker Tyler Rowe at the Vikings' 19-yard line.
"We practice it almost every day during practice, so it really paid off today," said Priegnitz, who also kicked field goals of 34 and 27 yards.
"I really just try to get underneath the ball, get a lot of hangtime on it, so it helps our team get down the field and get on it. We want to put it between the 25 and the 20, which is where we got it, and we got a great bounce."
The sleight-of-hand continued with an inside double-handoff between Chuck Gottfred and MacPherson for 13 yards to set up Gottfred's 1-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead just 1:15 into the game.
Down 10-0, H-F had something going late in the first quarter, moving 65 yards to the Glenbrook South 24-yard line. Marino blitzed for a sack, then on the next play Tyrone Cotton intercepted his third pass of the season and returned it 30 yards.
A sophomore, Cotton gained 94 yards on three touches, including a 34-yard touchdown run with 5:14 left in the third quarter to lead 40-0 and launch a running clock.
"We were underestimated coming into this game. Executing it, and having a performance like this really sent a statement. I'm really excited for what we have going forward," said the 6-foot sophomore back.
As the Titans defense forced H-F's no-huddle offense into a pair of three-and-outs and ended the second quarter on a MacPherson interception, the offense stormed to a 27-0 halftime lead.
Hunter Kreske's 33-yard completion to Griffin Dahiya on a smart slant-and-go pattern led to MacPherson's 10-yard touchdown pass from Kreske, rolling right.
Priegnitz delivered from 27 yards out, and with 33.9 seconds before halftime Gottfred scored on a 19-yard run, breaking a tackle to get in.
Running behind and between linemen Pat Benedict, Nick Brattleaf, Drew Duffy, Johnny Rolfes, Connor Schaffer, Ryan Taylor, and tight end Gariepy -- all sprinting to the line every play -- Gottfred finished with 99 yards rushing through three quarters, before Dom Rejkiewicz, Nate Canning and Max Zolbayar salted away the fourth quarter.
MacPherson took the second-half kickoff at his 5-yard line, veered toward the left sideline, and used blocks by Dahiya, Canning and, finally, Cotton, to race 95 yards for a touchdown.
"Saw some great blocks and I just knew I had to go. Put my head down and just started running," MacPherson said.
"I run the kickoff return team, and to be honest with you, we've been talking all year about getting one that we can take to the house," Schoenwetter said.
"We're a team that does special teams drill work still into the 10th week of the season. It paid off for us there, and I think was kind of a dagger in the start of the second half."
Oglesby heated up in the second half, completing 7-of-8 passes with a 7-yard touchdown to John Gore with 32.1 seconds remaining to play. The game had long been decided.
"I think a lot of guys were really excited," MacPherson said. "We knew we were the underdogs in this game, surprisingly, even though we were the higher seed, but I think that fueled a lot of our guys, and we were just really excited. And we're really excited for next week, too."