Lloyd Yates is not a player most high school defenses are going to shut down.
“He’s fast, he’s a dual threat,” Glenbard West’s Nico Gagliano said of the Oak Park-River Forest quarterback. “He’s really good at running the ball. It was tough to contain him.”
But Glenbard West’s defense managed to limit the damage done by Yates on Saturday afternoon in a showdown of West Suburban Silver unbeatens in Glen Ellyn.
That, a hefty dose of Sam Brodner’s running and some quick strikes by Glenbard West’s passing game were enough to give the No. 2 Hilltoppers a 28-14 win.
With Donahvon Vaughn sidelined by a sprained ankle, Brodner got 30 carries and finished with 112 yards and two touchdowns. Kyle Kramer shook off an early interception that led to an Oak Park score and was 6-of-12 passing for 138 yards and a 58-yard TD to Kobe Easley.
The defense did the rest, holding the No. 6 Huskies (5-1, 3-1) scoreless for the game’s final 28 minutes.
“There were a couple blitzes we ran that were really effective,” said Gagliano, a junior linebacker.
“Our defense is really fast across the board,” Brodner said.
It had to be against the Northwestern-bound Yates, who leads an offense that averaged more than 43 points a game coming in. The Huskies aren’t one-dimensional, either, with a durable running back in junior Antonio Cannon (22 carries, 93 yards).
Yates got his yards on Saturday, netting 88 on 22 carries and going 11-of-24 passing for 146 more.
But Glenbard West (6-0, 4-0) also sacked or tackled Yates for a loss eight times for 55 yards.
“We sprung a few big plays, we did some things well,” Oak Park coach John Hoerster said. “We just weren’t able to finish when it got close.”
The Huskies came up empty on three trips to the red zone in the first half and trailed 21-14 at the break. The only TD after that was Sean Mackey’s 7-yard run for West with 2:09 left in the third quarter.
“When you fall behind to them and they get a little bit of a lead and they can just grind it … it’s really difficult to stop them,” Hoerster said. “They’ve got a horse of a running back.”
That would be Brodner, who scored on runs of 1 yard at 9:31 of the first quarter and 7 yards at 1:00 of the second. In between, Kramer hit Easley with the long scoring pass at 3:42 of the first quarter.
The latter score came two plays after Yates scored from a yard out — after Kamal Bey picked off Kramer inside the West 10 — to briefly tie the score at 7. Yates tied it again at 14 with a 23-yard scoring pass to KeJuan Ratcliff (seven catches, 86 yards) with 4:06 left in the second quarter.
But Brodner put the Hilltoppers ahead for good and they ate up the clock the rest of this cold, gray afternoon.
“John Sigmund, our offensive coordinator, just knows how to get four, five yards [at a time] and keep the chains moving,” Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said.
“The offense just controlled it in the second half and that’s a big deal against an offense like Oak Park that’s so high-powered.”