In the first game ever played under the lights at Thornwood, Dennis Vilimek stole the spotlight.
The Andrew star scored four touchdowns as the visiting Thunderbolts used their big-play offense to glide past Thornwood 47-13 in Southwest Suburban Red play Friday night in South Holland.
Vilimek started his historic night by returning the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown as Andrew (5-1, 4-0) never looked back in grabbing a 28-0 lead at the half.
“That really set the tone for us,” Vilimek said. “Even though they were playing their first night game here, we thought it played to our advantage because we’re used to playing under the lights.”
Vilimek was far from done as he added a 54-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Platt in the second quarter and then notched a 20-yard touchdown pass and a 31-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“I’ve never had a night like this on the varsity,” Vilimek said. “I think at times we can’t be stopped on offense. But I also know we have to keep improving.”
Vilimek didn’t do it alone. Junior running back Jarvion Franklin rushed 23 times for 148 yards and a touchdown and junior quarterback Platt completed six of 11 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 14 times for 66 yards and a touchdown.
“We’ve got a lot of options on offense,” Vilimek said. “We’re better than I thought we would be on offense. Everybody’s working good together and Jacob has done a great job of running the offense.”
Andrew’s defense had come into the game with back-to-back shutouts, but a bid for a third consecutive shutout ended when Thornwood took the second half kickoff and went 65 yards in four plays with Daquan Richie recovering a Gerald Stroman fumble in the end zone for the Thunderbirds.
“It was nice to see all three phases of our game working tonight,” Andrew coach Jim Malec said. “You have to have all three phases working if you want to be successful. Dennis has come close to breaking a couple of returns this year so it was nice to see him break one.
“He’s a special player. He does a lot of things for us and I think you saw that tonight.”