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Downers Grove South gets first win, beats Willowbrook for first time since 2015

DOWNERS GROVE – In a clash of West Suburban Gold foes, it was a late-game push that gave Downers Grove South the edge in beating Willowbrook 28-13 for the first time in seven years.

The Mustangs handed the Warriors their first loss in the Gold since 2016 and snapped Willowbrook’s 29-game Gold winning streak.

Downers Grove South (1-3, 1-0) appeared to be on the ropes late in the second quarter. Willowbrook had the ball on a second-and-goal from the 4-yard line after a costly turnover. But Mustangs junior safety William Potter recovered well on play-action and intercepted a Joey Tumilty pass for a touchback to preserve a one-point lead.

After the game, Potter was awarded the Mustangs’ MVP belt.

“I saw their quarterback pull it, then look to my left and saw their guy leak through,” Potter said. “I went and jumped it. We work on that all the time in practice.”

Downers Grove South's Brandon Amaniampong (84) leaps high for a reception attempt during varsity football game between Willowbrook at Downers Grove South.  Sept 16, 2022

Downers Grove South’s Brandon Amaniampong (84) leaps high for a reception attempt during varsity football game between Willowbrook at Downers Grove South. Sept 16, 2022 (Gary E Duncan Sr for Shaw Local/)

After the halftime break, the Mustangs ran the ball well, gaining chunk plays on the ground. Downers Grove South coach Mark Molinari said getting back to running the ball was the catalyst for the victory.

“The first two drives we ran the ball really well,” Molinari said. “We kind of got away from that in the second quarter, trying to throw a little bit and we didn’t make good decisions with the ball. We know they play a lot of guys two ways and they had some injuries. We said if we wanna win it, we have to go out and pound it.”

Willowbrook (1-3, 0-1) ran an offense every bit as creative as it was explosive. Using formations not often seen, such as the William & Mary spread and the swinging gate, Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth was able to get the ball in space to offensive Swiss Army knife Joey Tumilty.

Hildreth said some of it was out of necessity.

Willowbrook's Joey Tumilty (4) takes off on a run during varsity football game between Willowbrook at Downers Grove South.  Sept 16, 2022

Willowbrook’s Joey Tumilty (4) takes off on a run during varsity football game between Willowbrook at Downers Grove South. Sept 16, 2022 (Gary E Duncan Sr for Shaw Local/)

“Our starting quarterback was out,” Hildreth said. “We had to put some other things in to give ourselves the best opportunity to win. We wanted to get the ball in our athletes’ hands in space. I think guys had opportunities in spots as some injuries started to mount there. We didn’t capitalize on things like at the end of the first half, field goal, a big third and long and turnovers.”

For Downers Grove South, this was the first time the Mustangs had beaten Willowbrook since 2015. With the conference now wide open, Molinari said he isn’t looking too far ahead after his team’s first win of the season.

“They came out in a polecat offense and were doing some different things,” Molinari said. “They caught us a couple of times early. Coach [Dan] Bielawski, our defensive coordinator, did a great job to keep things in front of us and to corral [Tumilty]. … They’ve been the king of the conference for a while and we’ve been in second place. We haven’t won anything yet, but this puts us in a spot where we control our own destiny.”

Downers Grove South will play Friday at Proviso East. Willowbrook will host Lyden on Friday. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. kickoffs.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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