Like most kickers, York’s Max Hansmann is used to having time to think about a big field-goal attempt.
This, however, was a little extreme.
Hansmann was getting prepared mentally for maybe the biggest kick of his life Saturday afternoon at Glenbard West. Time was winding down, the Dukes were trailing the host Hilltoppers by a point and they were in the red zone.
Then came the thunder and the officials’ decision to suspend play and clear the stadium for 30 minutes.
“I just think God was trying to ice me, you know?” Hansmann said jokingly.
When play finally resumed, York quarterback Matt Vezza ran twice for four-plus yards, putting the ball inches away from the goal line on fourth down. The Dukes lined up for a 17-yard field goal, Hansmann punched it through the uprights and York had its biggest win in years, 12-10.
It was the first win for the Dukes (6-0, 4-0) in the West Suburban Silver series since 2007 and they clinched their first IHSA playoff berth since 2011.
“All we’ve been hearing about for as long as I can remember is, ‘Oh, wait till you get to high school, wait till you get to Glenbard West, they’re going to smoke you,’ ” said Hansmann, an Evansville baseball recruit. “They would be looking down on our program all the time.”
But the culture has changed under fourth-year coach Mike Fitzgerald. Now the school that for years has been known for its cross-country success in the fall is getting some notice on the football field.
Hansmann’s second field goal in the fourth capped an eventful quarter. His 25-yarder with 8:25 remaining gave the Dukes a 9-3 lead. But Glenbard West (5-1, 2-1), stymied offensively almost all afternoon, responded by moving 65 yards on 12 plays to go ahead 10-9 on Jack Oberhofer’s two-yard touchdown run and the extra point with 5:02 left.
Then York went back to work with a heavy dose of Vezza’s running. The junior rushed 33 times for 123 yards and a touchdown. He also was 14 of 23 passing for 122 yards with one interception.
The workload was unusual.
“The past two games I’ve been around 15 carries,” Vezza said, but York coaches noted Glenbard West’s defensive scheme offered him some running lanes.
The Hilltoppers’ only scoring in the first three quarters was Enzo Diomede’s 26-yard field goal at the end of the first half after a holding call wiped out an apparent 17-yard touchdown run by Jason Thomas. Joey Pope had 26 carries for 111 yards for the Hilltoppers.
Measuring up: Mayoral field swells to 11 with Lightfoot, Garcia, other late filers — but now battle begins to cut that number down