Jake Dorrance has started only one game this season, but his next start could be in Hinsdale South’s first playoff game since 2005.
It has been a crazy year for the junior from Willowbrook, who missed nearly the entire season due to a concussion, but is suddenly a regular contributor on the offensive line for the Hornets. Hinsdale South clinched a playoff berth with a 41-22 victory at Willowbrook Friday night.
Eighth-seeded Hinsdale South (6-3) plays at top-seeded Oak Forest (8-1) at 7 p.m. Friday in the Class 6A first round. The winner plays fifth-seeded Shepard (6-3) or fourth-seeded Perspectives (7-2) in the second round.
The playoff berth came after last season when the Hornets went 5-4, but lacked enough playoff points to gain an at-large berth.
The win over Willowbrook launched a celebration in the Guritz house of Darien where Zack, Hinsdale South’s top lineman as a 6-foot-3, 280-pound senior left tackle was able to share the moment with his father, Matt, the football team’s Freshman coach who helps on the sideline of varsity games.
“It was amazing,” Zack Guritz said. “It was a special feeling with my dad by my side as a coach. I found him after the game and embraced him. It was an awesome feeling I won’t forget.”
Guritz is one of four returning offensive linemen from last year. The Hornets have turned second-year coach Mike Barry’s no-huddle spread offense into a dominating rushing attack. Against Willowbrook, junior Arian Toney rushed for a career-high 279 yards on 37 carries and three TDs. On the season, Toney has 169 carries for 1,094 yards and 12 TDs and senior quarterback D.J. Deolitsis has 142 carries for 1,104 yards and 18 TDs.
Deolitsis is 56-of-131 passing for 806 yards and five TDs on the season.
The offensive line returned Matt Welgos, Peter Gebauer and Sean Miller from last season, but newcomer Frank Cabrera at left guard suffered an ankle injury in a loss at Hinsdale Central Sept. 29. Cabrera remains in a walking boot and was replaced by Liam McGowan.
Dorrance replaced McGowan in the second half of a loss to Downers Grove South Oct. 12.
Dorrance, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior, is now playing left guard alongside Guritz. Dorrance suffered his second career concussion during the summer and wasn’t cleared to play until the Downers South game.
“I’m so excited to get a chance to play,” Dorrance said. “I was expecting to get in in the last minute once in a while as a backup guy.”
Dorrance is playing left guard for the first time in his career. He has been a defensive end and an offensive tackle. He was called up from the sophomore team for the final two regular season games last season.
Dorrance’s father, Tom, is the defensive coordinator for Hinsdale Central. His dad will be unable to see the Oak Forest game since the fifth-seeded Red Devils (7-2) will host 12th-seeded Oak Park-River Forest (6-2) in a Class 8A opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Jake previously missed playing against his dad’s team Sept. 29 due to his concussion.
After coaching three years at Evergreen Park, Barry will make his playoff coaching debut Friday night at Oak Forest. Barry played at Downers North when the Trojans finished second in Class 8A in 1990 after losing to Thornton 31-21 in the final.
“It’s exciting. Obviously, making [the playoffs] has been our goal,” Barry said. “We were close, real close last year. We’re fortunate to get in.”