Something about Glenbard West junior Sam Brodner makes him a bear to bring down – although his coach won’t go so far as to suggest Brodner’s shoulder-length locks lend super-human strength.
“He’s weird about his hair,” Hitters coach Chad Hetlet laughed. “His brother Jake was a guard for us and plays at Duke now and doesn’t want him to cut it.”
Brodner bulled his way to 204 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, shedding many a tackler along the way in No. 4 Glenbard West’s 38-0 bulldozing of Downers Grove North at Duchon Field.
Brodner had his sophomore season cut short – coincidentally, the Monday before the Downers North game. Two days after a two-touchdown game against Morton, he suffered a stress fracture in his L5 vertebrae. He missed the rest of the season.
“I had to sit on the sideline to watch this game,” Brodner said. “It was motivation. It drove me to work harder in the offseason and help my team out.”
Hetlet thinks Brodner could be a high recruit by next year, and he showed glimpses why Saturday for West (3-0, 1-0 West Suburban Silver).
Brodner took in a four-yard touchdown on West’s first possession, and next drive burst through the line on a trap play 42 yards to daylight to make it 14-0 a little over eight minutes in. Rarely did Brodner go down on first contact, and it resulted in nearly a 16-yard-per-carry effort.
“He’s as good a kid as we’ve had,” Hetlet said. “He’s a legit 4.5 (40 speed), he’s a plus-500-pound squatter, he benches over 300 — just unreal. We expect him to be pretty special.”
West’s win was its 19th straight in the Silver, eighth in a row against Downers North. It followed with a familiar script, albeit with a new cast of characters.
The Trojans just couldn’t sustain any offense — let alone score — against a Hitters defense flying to the ball.
Downers North (1-2, 0-1), was shut out by West for the third straight year. The Trojans managed 179 yards of total offense – and 59 of those came on the final drive against the Hitters’ second-string defense. Downers North’s Wisconsin-bound quarterback David Edwards, who left a 6-0 loss to Hinsdale South last week with a knee bruise, was 6-for-16 for 75 yards and sacked twice by Nico Gagliano and Javon Muhammad.
“Our defense did a great job flying to the ball, attacking all phases of the option,” West defensive end Declan Ryan said. “We fight power with speed.”
Downers North coach John Wander called out Ryan, in particular, as a disruptor to any plans the Trojans had to run their option game.
“No. 10 [Ryan], he’s a load. He could handle one side of the line on his own,” Wander said. “When you got one guy who can handle one side and you put two guys on the other side, wow, option football doesn’t work very good.”
Sean Mackey’s 12-yard touchdown gave West a 21-0 lead into halftime, and Parker Esposito added on a 43-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. Gagliano’s sack of Edwards on fourth down thwarted the Trojans’ deepest advancement into West territory, and a play later Hitters quarterback Kyle Kramer (8-of-15, 135 yards) connected with Ben Marcus for a 59-yard touchdown.
Donahvon’s 12-yard TD run closed out the scoring.