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Rams lose a shootout; Warriors edge Morton; Montini moves to 6-0

The Glenbard East football team experienced a disastrous third quarter during Friday’s homecoming game against South Elgin. The visiting storm outscored the Rams 27-0 during the period to take a 39-26 lead with 12 minutes to play.
Glenbard East rebounded from the miserable third period to take a 40-39 lead in the fourth quarter in the Upstate Eight Valley Conference battle, which took place in howling winds. The Storm, however, continued to light up the scoreboard, and two late touchdowns helped the Storm pull away to a 61-47 win.
Glenbard East fell to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference. South Elgin moved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
“Our guys rallied back; we just couldn’t finish it,” said Glenbard East coach John Walters. “We need to learn how to finish games.”
The Rams need to win at least two of their last three games to secure an IHSA playoff berth. Glenbard East will face Geneva (6-0) of the Upstate Eight River Conference this Friday in Lombard. The Rams will complete the regular season with conference games against West Aurora (Oct. 16) and Bartlett (Oct. 23).
“Thank goodness there are three left,” said Walters. “There’s a long way to go. Our character will be revealed over the next three weeks.”
Glenbard East scored the first of the game’s 16 touchdowns on the opening drive of the night. Senior quarterback Phil Abruzino completed a 6-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Zach Walsh to complete a 78-yard drive. The Storm scored a touchdown in the waning seconds of the first quarter to tie the score at 6-6.
Abruzino’s 32-yard touchdown pass to senior Travis Lyles helped the Rams to a 13-6 lead early in the second quarter. A 71-yard touchdown run by South Elgin’s Shawn Griffin cut Glenbard East’s lead to 13-12. A pair of short touchdown runs by Abruzino gave the Rams a 26-12 halftime lead.
The third quarter actually began well for the Rams, who took over possession when the Storm turned the ball over on downs. Moments later, the Storm intercepted a pass that was tipped at the line. A 26-yard touchdown drive followed, cutting the Glenbard East lead to 26-19. There was a near replay of the exchange in the next couple of minutes, as South Elgin intercepted another tipped pass and converted the turnover into a touchdown. A 33-yard pass and the ensuing extra-point kick tied the score at 26-26 midway through the third. quarter. Who knew the final 18 minutes would feature eight more touchdowns?
Glenbard East’s third-quarter woes continued with a pair of blocked punts, both of which led to South Elgin touchdowns. One of those drives covered 23 yards, while the other required only one play—a 4-yard run by Griffin. The Storm missed the extra-point kick after that touchdown, which pushed their lead to 39-26 with two minutes left in the quarter.
The Rams’ fortunes changed as soon as the quarter ended and they began heading toward the south end zone. Abruzino’s pass of over 40 yards to senior Conor Glennon on the opening play of the quarter brought the ball inside the Storm’s 10-yard line. A few plays later, Abruzino fired a 7-yard TD pass to Glennon on a fourth-and-goal play.
South Elgin fumbled the ball away on its ensuing possession. The Rams needed one play—a 13-yard TD pass from Abruzino to Walsh—to tie the game at 39-39. Junior Justin Murphy kicked the extra point to give the Rams a 40-39 lead with 9:05 to play.
Glenbard East held the lead for less than two minutes. The Storm regained the lead on Griffin’s 34-yard touchdown run, followed by a two-point conversion pass to push the advantage to 47-40.
Walsh’s third touchdown reception of the night—a 3-yard catch on a fourth-and-goal play—pulled the Rams to within one point at the 3:44 mark. Murphy’s conversion kick tied the score at 47-47.
The game would remain tied for 35 seconds. Griffin’s 41-yard TD run and the ensuing kick gave the Storm a 54-47 lead with 3:09 to play. The Rams’ next two offensive drives ended with interceptions, the second of which was returned about 40 yards for a touchdown with under 50 seconds to play.


The Warriors kept their hopes for an IHSA playoff berth—and the West Suburban Gold Conference title—alive with Friday’s exciting 38-31 conference victory at Morton in Berwyn. Sophomore running back Jack Jessen scored on a short touchdown run with about 20 seconds to play to break a 31-31 tie. Jessen finished the night with over 160 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Senior receiver Ron Reitz caught a pair of touchdown passes from senior quarterback Billy Degnan. Reitz, who also made a fourth-down reception to keep the Warriors’ winning touchdown drive alive, finished the night with nine receptions for 93 yards.
Willowbrook improved to 3-0 overall and 2-1 in the conference with Friday’s victory. The Warriors need to win their last three games—conference battles against Proviso East, Downers Grove South and Leyden—to claim the conference title and lock up a trip to the playoffs. Willowbrook has not won a West Suburban Gold conference football title since joining the conference about three decades ago.
“Obviously the playoffs are on our mind,” said Degnan. “We have to take it week by week. We can’t overlook anybody.”
Willowbrook, which is now 3-1 on the road this season and 0-2 at home, will play Proviso East (1-5 overall, 0-3 in the conference) this Friday in Villa Park.
Morton (which dropped to 1-5 overall, 1-2 conference) held a 13-0 lead over the Warriors late in the second quarter. Willowbrook cut into the lead when Degnan connected with Reitz on a short touchdown pass with about two minutes left in the first half. A short time later, Morton lined up to punt the ball back to the Warriors. The snap went over the head of the Mustangs’ punter, who covered the ball at his team’s 11-yard line. Jessen ran the ball into the end zone on the next play to tie the game at 13-13 with 1:25 left in the half. Junior Mike Dembowski kicked the extra point for a 14-13 lead.
Willowbrook received the second-half kickoff and drove 63 yards for a touchdown on its way to a 21-13 lead. Degnan’s 9-yard scoring pass to Reitz completed the drive. The Warriors’ lead grew to 24-13 when Dembowski kicked a 23-yard field goal with about four minutes left in the third quarter.
Morton’s offense came to life on the ensuing series, which lasted all of one play—a short pass that turned into an 80-yard touchdown reception. The Mustangs added a two-point conversion run to cut the Warriors’ lead to 24-21. Morton then recovered the midrange kickoff that the Warriors couldn’t track down in gusty conditions. The Mustangs pounced on the loose ball near Willowbrook’s 34-yard line. Moments later, Morton converted a 25-yard field goal attempt to tie the score at 24-24 with less than one minute to play in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter included Degnan’s 60-yard touchdown pass to senior Josan Murphy on a fourth-and-one play with about 10 minutes remaining. Morton scored about three minutes later to tie the game at 31-31 with about 6:30 remaining. Degnan lofted a short pass to the speedy Murphy, who caught the ball and raced down the middle of the field into the end zone.
The Warriors drove 55 yards for a score on their final offensive series of the night. The only passing play of the drive was Degnan’s fourth-down pass to Reitz. The 7-yard pass play with about one minute to play gave the Warriors a first down at Morton’s 5-yard line.
“It was a make-or-break play,” said Degnan of the fourth-down pass to Reitz. “We knew the pass would be there. We had a lot of confidence in the call.”
Moments later, Jessen bulled his way into the end zone on a 1-yard scoring run. Morton managed four plays (three incomplete passes and one short completion to its own 22-yard line on the game’s final play) to close out the contest.


The Broncos posted their third straight shutout of the season when they defeated St. Joseph 42-0 in Friday’s game at Elmhurst College. The Broncos, who held a 35-0 lead after one quarter and added one more touchdown in the second period, improved to 6-0 and clinched the program’s 23rd straight trip to the IHSA playoffs.
The Broncos will play a home game against St. Francis (4-2 overall) this Friday.

Junior Rams to hold girls basketball tryouts Oct 21-22

The Glenbard East Junior Rams girls basketball program will hold tryouts for the upcoming season on Wednesday, Oct. 21, and Thursday, Oct. 22. The tryouts for the program’s fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade teams will take place from 7–9 p.m. each evening in Glenbard East’s main gymnasium.
For more information about the tryouts, contact Glenbard East girls varsity coach Don Finnie at donald_finnie@glenbard.org.