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Rams move to 2-0

The Glenbard East football team delivered several key plays in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 14-7 win over Oswego East in Lombard. The strong finish helped the Rams improve their overall record to 2-0.
“We were able to execute in the last few minutes and find a way to win,” said Glenbard East coach John Walters. “Was it a great performance? I don’t know, but I’ll tell you this—our defense was special tonight. Our defense stepped up and played a phenomenal football game.”
The Rams, who are new members of the Upstate Eight Conference’s Valley Division, will open conference play with this Friday’s home game against Neuqua Valley (0-2). The Wildcats opened their season with losses to two of Glenbard East’s old DuPage Valley Conference rivals. Naperville North edged Neuqua Valley 14-13 on Aug. 29. Naperville Central beat the Wildcats 19-0 on Friday.
Oswego East (1-1) took an early lead over the Rams with a 31-yard touchdown run in the middle of the first quarter. Glenbard East tied the game at 7-7 later in the opening quarter on an 8-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Phil Abruzino and the following extra-point kick by senior Jack Difino. The two teams waged a defensive struggle over the next few quarters. Both teams struggled to keep possession of the football in a game that featured 12 turnovers—six for each team.
Glenbard East senior Mickey Farnham blocked an Oswego East field goal attempt during the first minute of the fourth quarter. Junior receiver Conor Glennon delivered another clutch play for the Rams later in the period, hauling in a 45-yard reception from Abruzino to give Glenbard East a first down at the Wolves’ 14-yard line. Moments later, senior Dominic Wilberton’s 1-yard touchdown run gave the Rams a 13-7 lead. Difino’s conversion kick pushed Glenbard East’s lead to 14-7 with 3:53 left in the game.
The Wolves’ ensuing offensive drive ended on a fourth-and-two play from the Rams’ 25-yard line. Junior linebacker Anthony Allen stripped the ball from Oswego East’s quarterback. Senior Matt Mihic recovered the loose ball, giving the Rams possession with just 1:45 to play.
Glenbard East soon punted the ball back to the Wolves, who started their final drive at their own 44-yard line with 1:18 remaining. Oswego East made a fourth-down conversion with a long pass play to advance to the Rams’ 35-yard line. Moments later, junior defensive back Davontae Smith sealed Glenbard East’s victory by making a leaping interception near the 10-yard line with less than 30 seconds to play.
Wilberton and senior Chris Arrington both made interceptions earlier in the game. Farnham, Mihic and junior Dominick Wroblewski had fumble recoveries.
The Rams produced 2-0 starts to open the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Glenbard East hasn’t been 3-0 since 1999, when it won its first four games on the way to a 9-4 season that ended in the semifinal round of the IHSA Class 6A playoffs. The Rams have not returned to the post-season since the 1999 campaign.


The Warriors fell to 0-2 after Friday’s narrow 25-21 loss to Lyons Township in Villa Park. Willowbrook, which trailed the Lions 10-7 at halftime, scored a pair of second-half touchdowns to take a 21-10 lead. Lyons Township (1-1) scored the game’s last 15 points on an interception return for a touchdown (and a subsequent two-point conversion that cut the Warriors’ lead to 21-18) and a late touchdown that provided the margin of victory.
The Lions took a 7-0 lead after an 80-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter. Willowbrook tied the game later in the opening period on a 35-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Billy Degnan to junior receiver Ronnie Rietz. Senior Paul Yacoub kicked the extra point to even the score at 7-7.
Lyons Township took a 10-7 lead with a field goal on the first play of the second quarter. The Warriors almost grabbed the lead on the final play of that quarter—a high pass from Degnan to senior Kyle Rushing in the end zone. Rushing and a Lions defender both jumped and reached for the ball. They came to the ground and wrestled for control of the ball, and the officials ruled the play an interception.
The Warriors will open the West Suburban Gold Conference season with this Friday’s home game against Hinsdale South (2-0). The Hornets opened the 2014 season with non-conference wins over Romeoville and Downers Grove North.


The Broncos responded to their wrenching 36-35 season-opening loss at Maine South with Saturday’s 46-32 victory over East St. Louis in Lombard.
The visiting Flyers jumped out to an early 13-0 lead over Montini with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns, including a 72-yard scoring run. The Broncos scored their first points on a 33-yard field goal by senior Mason Weissenhofer. Moments later, the Flyers (0-2) coughed up a fumble on their ensuing drive. Senior linebacker Sam Asta scooped up the loose ball and ran 15 yards for a touchdown.
East St. Louis scored its third touchdown of the opening quarter and took a 20-10 lead after 12 minutes of play. Senior quarterback Chuck Norgle finished a second-quarter scoring drive for the Broncos with a 1-yard touchdown run. Norgle and senior Leon Thornton hooked up on a 26-yard touchdown pass later in the quarter that helped Montini cut the Flyers’ lead to 26-24. The Broncos made a goal line stand in the closing seconds of the first half to keep the East St. Louis lead at two points at halftime.
Montini took its first lead of the day on Norgle’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Thornton in the third quarter. Thornton made his third touchdown reception of the day when he hauled in a 26-yard reception from junior Justin Blake later in the period.
Norgle closed out Montini’s six-touchdown onslaught with a short run in the fourth quarter.
Norgle completed 24 of 34 pass attempts for 310 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Thornton grabbed 12 receptions for 189 yards and three touchdowns.
“It was a huge win, especially after the collapse we had last week,” said Montini coach Chris Andriano, referring to the Aug. 29 loss at Maine South, when the Broncos squandered a 35-15 lead by allowing three touchdowns in the game’s last three minutes. “This was a test of  how tough we are, and we passed—especially after falling behind early. Our kids played a great game. They bounced back like I knew they would. I’m just proud of our guys.”
The Broncos will have their hands full in this week’s matchup at a perennial football power. Montini will head to Chicago to play St. Rita (2-0). This will be the first football contest between the Broncos and Mustangs.

Warriors win five in a row to claim title at their own invite

The Willowbrook girls volleyball team reeled off five straight victories to claim the championship at its own eight-team invitational, which took place Friday and Saturday. The Warriors earned three wins on Friday, beating Walther Christian (25-10, 25-12), Coal City (25-8, 25-23) and Addison Trail (21-25, 25-12, 15-8). Willowbrook edged Glenbard North 25-23, 20-25, 25-21 in Saturday morning’s semifinal battle. The Warriors beat Coal City 25-19, 25-15 in the championship match.
“In my 10 years of coaching, this is the first time we’ve taken first place at this event,” said Willowbrook coach Sue Bower after Saturday’s win over Coal City. Bower said the Warriors aren’t yet aware of how good they can be in 2014.
“They have a lot of potential that they don’t even realize yet,” she said. “It’s all about their intensity level.”
Bower also said that while this year’s team might not include any one standout player, the Willowbrook lineup features solid players who know and enjoy the game.
“They work well as a team, and we’ve got some depth on the bench, so there’s some healthy competition between positions,” said Bower.
Senior Kelsey Linnig handed out 19 assists in the title match against Coal City. Senior Micala Giammarino added eight assists. Senior Mia Railing bashed a team-leading nine kills, while junior Danielle McNamara connected for six kills. Sophomores Jamie Chiappetta and Olivia Pennebaker each provided four kills. Junior Kelly Conley made four digs and served three aces.
Linnig also contributed 19 assists in Saturday’s semifinal victory over Glenbard North, which marked Willowbrook’s second three-game victory over the Panthers in four days. McNamara and Railing hit seven and six kills, respectively.
Railing pounded 12 kills and made eight digs in Friday night’s three-game victory against Addison Trail. McNamara added six kills. Conley made nine digs, while Chiappetta delivered five kills and four digs.
Willowbrook improved its overall season record to 6-0 with its five-win effort at the tournament. The Warriors opened their season with a 28-30, 25-21, 25-14 win at Glenbard North on Sept. 3. Linnig tallied 19 assists and nine digs in the opener. Giammarino gave out 10 assists. Railing had nine kills and 12 digs. McNamara and junior Maya Bullock each pounded eight kills.