As practice weeks go, Glenbard West’s was rather disjointed.
Poor weather kept the Hitters off of Duchon Field, and they didn’t have the luxury of practicing on turf. Instead they worked out on a soggy patch of grass in front of Lake Ellyn.
A 42-0 final over Morton hardly indicated it, but it added up to an uneven performance by No. 4 Glenbard West on Saturday in Glen Ellyn.
“We really had one day of preparation, and it reflected on how we played,” Hitters coach Chad Hetlet said. “We were sloppy, we didn’t execute – but give Morton credit for playing tough.”
The schedule offered a built-in excuse for West (2-0). A game against a rebuilding Morton program was sandwiched in between an emotional series-ending win over neighborhood rival Wheaton Warrenville South, and next week’s conference opener with Downers Grove North.
Things started sloppy, the Hitters losing a fumble on their second play from scrimmage. They were flagged for 11 penalties on the game – one negated a Jason Balogh kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half – and missed two extra-point kicks.
West’s Sam Brodner, who ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns, summed up a “can do better” postgame mood.
“It’s things we can fix, all mental errors, stuff we’ll work on this week,” Brodner said. “Practice was rough all week. It’s harder to get mentally prepared for practice when you’re practicing on a bad field instead of turf.”
The Hitters hardly held possession in the first quarter – Donahvon Vaughn’s 25-yard touchdown run had them ahead 6-0 – but got things rolling over the second 12 minutes.
Vaughn scored from three yards out, and two plays after Kobe Easley picked off a Morton pass Brodner went 61 yards on a sweep around right end to make it 20-0. Ben Marcus blocked an ensuing Morton punt, resulting in a safety, and Kyle Kramer’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Aidan Gould gave West a 29-0 lead into halftime.
Meanwhile, the Hitters’ swift, swarming defense swallowed up Morton’s option offense.
The Mustangs (0-2) with 5-4 sophomore quarterback Julio Garcia getting his second varsity start, managed just three first downs – and two came on West penalties – over the first three quarters. Sacks by West’s Nico Gagliano and Declan Ryan ended Morton’s first two possessions. Anthony Stanciu ran for 73 yards for Morton, 49 coming on a fourth-quarter scamper.
“They’re in another league from us right now, fast across the board,” Morton coach Bob Organ said. “It’s tough to do anything against them. I know the score doesn’t show it but my kids fought. That’s all you can ask against a machine like that.”
Vaughn ran for 100 yards, and Gould caught five passes for 78 yards for West, which can now focus on conference play. The Hitters have at least shared the last six Silver titles. Hetlet won’t allow himself to get too far ahead of things or dwell too harshly on one not-quite-stellar game.
“It’s a week-to-week deal. Everybody in our conference is tough,” he said. “We’ll see how the kids rise to the occasion and how they prepare. We go away not happy about this game but still, you beat any high school team 42-0 you did some things right.”