Two bruising running backs, Jalen Moore and Joey Richmond, and a tenacious offensive line put an end to Glenbard West’s two-game losing streak to Maine South.
Moore ran for 213 yards and Richmond added 133 yards to lead the No. 16 Hilltoppers to a 45-28 win against the No. 4 Hawks on Saturday in Glen Ellyn.
“Quite frankly they beat us pretty well those games,” Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said. “I don’t think our kids had any doubts in their mind. I did. But I don’t think they did. They came here to take care of business, that was their mentality. They weren’t cocky, they were confident. They put in the work and you can tell.
Moore scored on a 42-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and a 28-yard pass from quarterback Braden Spiech in the fourth quarter. Richmond had touchdown runs of 64 and six yards.
“The whole off season we were thinking about beating them because they took it to us the last two years,” Richmond said. “We wanted to get them back this year. We just pounded, pounded and pounded and stayed on course. They were getting tired and we just kept coming.”
The Hilltoppers (1-0) led 17-0 in the first quarter, taking full advantage of two Maine South turnovers. The Hawks responded with 21 consecutive points to take the lead. Then Richmond scored on the six-yard run to put Glenbard West ahead 24-21 just before halftime.
- Glenbard West’s Jalen Moore (23) raises a finger as he scores one of his touchdowns against Maine South. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times
- Glenbard West’s Jalen Moore (23) and Nic Seifert (24) celebrate one of Moore’s touchdowns. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times
- Glenbard West’s Samson Zander (34) breaks up a pass intended for Maine South’s Dan Lazic (23). Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times
- Glenbard West’s Joey Richmond (4) rounds the corner and heads up field for a big gain. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times
“That was huge,” Hetlet said. “To go back down there and take the lead is extremely important. The defense was reeling at that point. You have to stay in a fight with Maine South at all times.”
Maine South quarterback Luke Leongas left with an injury after the first half and didn’t return. The junior was terrific in his debut. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 205 yards. He finished with one interception, a deflection, and threw two touchdown passes to Ryan Kilburg.
Leongas connected with seven different receivers. Kilburg had six catches for 51 yards. Johnny Palumbo caught five passes for 36 yards and Dan Lazik had five catches for 31 yards.
“Losing Luke definitely hurt us and hurt our chances,” Maine South coach Dave Inserra said. “That’s not an excuse for the defense. That has nothing to do with Luke. We have to shore up the defense. A little better tackling. A little better understanding of what we want to do.”
Junior Justin Marques replaced Leongas in the second half. The Hawks offense struggled and Glenbard West just kept pounding the ball on the ground.
“That’s an excellent running team,” Inserra said. “They are big and strong. Justin gave us the best he could.”
Glenbard West’s opening drive of the second half was a textbook example of how it likes to play. Run after run that took up almost seven minutes of the third quarter.
“We came out here and were hard-nosed and pounding it down their throat,” Moore said. “They were giving up and they couldn’t stop us.”
“This is a special group of kids,” Hetlet said. “They really believe in themselves and have had a lot of success. There is not a lot of big names but the way our running backs run and the way our line plays. Richmond is over 200 pounds, Nic Seifert is over 200 pounds. Jaylen is 190.”
The Hilltoppers will face Leyden next week. Maine South has another major test. The Hawks will host Mount Carmel in Week 2.