Four Downs: West Suburban Silver advances three teams to Class 8A quarterfinals

West Suburban Silver success, Tyler Vasey’s record running and Batavia hype.

SHARE Four Downs: West Suburban Silver advances three teams to Class 8A quarterfinals
York’s Kelly Watson (1) scores a touchdown against Marist in the first half against Marist.

York’s Kelly Watson (1) scores a touchdown against Marist in the first half against Marist.

Quinn Harris/For the Sun-Times

This late in the season all the preseason hype and predictions and bold statements have usually faded away.

But one fact has stuck in my mind since August: This is the biggest offensive line in Chad Hetlet’s 16 seasons at Glenbard West.

The Hilltoppers excel at producing Power Five linemen, so that was a major declaration. The massive offensive line, led by Wisconsin recruit Chris Terek (6-6, 295 pounds) helped Glenbard West to a dominant 42-0 win against Glenbrook South in the second round.

Hilltoppers running back Julius Ellens ran for five touchdowns and 312 yards against the Titans.

The victory gave Glenbard West its first quarterfinal appearance since 2016. It’s been a banner playoff run for the West Suburban Silver, which has three teams in the Class 8A quarterfinals. Undefeated York will host Palatine and Lyons will play at Loyola.

“I know we’ve gotten a bad rap of not representing in the playoffs,” York coach Mike Fitzgerald said. “But I think a lot of that too is you get beat up throughout the season.You’ve got to bring it every week.”

The Dukes knocked off Marist in an overtime thriller in the second round. Glenbard West knocked off the RedHawks earlier in the season.

“Our conference is incredibly challenging this year,” York quarterback Matt Vezza said. It shows we can compete with a conference like the CCL Blue.”

Record setter

Tyler Vasey’s assault on the record books continues. The Prairie Ridge quarterback ran for 279 yards and seven touchdowns against Kaneland in the second round. He had rushed for more than 300 yards in the three previous games.

Vasey has 3,114 yards so far this season. That’s already the fourth-best season in state history. The three players still ahead of Vasey on the list are Sean Dunning of St. Teresa, who had 3,127 yards in 2005, Glenbard North’s Justin Jackson with 3,171 in 2013 and TJ Stinde of Lexington who holds the state record with 3,325 yards in 2009.

Bulldogs are back?

The DuKane conference teams beat up on each other a bit this season. St. Charles North was undefeated in the conference but lost to Palatine in Week 1. Those factors kept a DuKane team from top-five status in the Super 25 for most of the year.

But it was always clear that the North Stars, Batavia and Wheaton North were among the area’s best threats to win the Class 7A state title. Geneva also put together a solid season.

The Bulldogs had the most preseason hype but had a challenging start to the season with road losses at Lincoln-Way East and Wheaton North. Then St. Charles North beat Batavia in a one-point game in Week 9.

The hype around the Bulldogs had totally faded away. It’s back. Linebacker/running back Tyler Jansey led Batavia to an overtime win against undefeated Hersey in the second round and it appears the Bulldogs are finally clicking. Drew Gerke had an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the game.

Batavia will be heavily favored in its quarterfinal matchup against visiting Yorkville and is a good bet to reach Champaign for the state title game.

Public League update

Simeon, the Public League’s best team, lost to Crete-Monee in a fun one on Saturday but it wasn’t all bad news for CPS football teams.

Morgan Park shut out Payton and will travel to LaGrange Park for a Class 5A quarterfinal against Nazareth. That game is a toss-up.

Kenwood earned its best win of the season, knocking off a good Bremen squad 36-6. The Broncos are heavy underdogs on the road against Lemont in the Class 6A quarterfinals.

Contributing: Mike Clark

The Latest
A bill to create a national monument to Tulsa’s Greenwood District, once known as ‘Black Wall Street,’ now sits in Congress. There’s also a movement for a national monument to the 1908 race riot in Springfield, Illinois.
AmTrav is geared toward small and medium-sized U.S. companies, allowing them to book trips, manage payments and expenses, set travel policies and more.
Christian Acevedo, 18, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to murder and attempted murder in the 2022 shootings.
Fans can apply to see the Aug. 19-22 shows at the Auditorium Theatre during the Democratic National Convention.
Signs say “No smoking, eating, gambling,” but anyone who uses public transit daily in Chicago knows that many buses have smelly foods, litter and, on occasion, the smoker. A reader writes about the many problems she sees daily on buses and L trains.