Noah Battle runs for 198 yards to snap Downers Grove North’s 16-game losing streak to Glenbard West

The Trojans knocked off Glenbard West 31-7 on Saturday in Glen Ellyn.

SHARE Noah Battle runs for 198 yards to snap Downers Grove North’s 16-game losing streak to Glenbard West
Downer’s Grove North’s Noah Battle celebrates in the end zone after powering through the Glenbard West’s defense for a long trouchdown run.

Downer’s Grove North’s Noah Battle celebrates in the end zone after powering through the Glenbard West’s defense for a long trouchdown run.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Downers Grove North senior Noah Battle knew the history. Glenbard West had beaten the Trojans in every game since 2006. It was 16 consecutive losses. Battle, a three-year starter at running back and safety, had experienced two of the defeats.

Turning the tide of high school football tradition is difficult. The same programs win the same games year after year. It takes a unique group of kids to overcome the typical and produce a score that makes the state double-check and take notice.

Downers Grove North did just that Saturday, knocking off No. 17 Glenbard West 31-7 in Glen Ellyn.

“We were thinking about it all week,” Battle said. “We knew we had a chance to beat them, and we did it with style, so we’re proud.”

Battle was dynamic as well as being a workhorse. He had 198 yards on 30 carries with touchdown runs of 44, 67 and two yards.

“He’s a special player, for sure,” Trojans coach Joe Horeni said. “I wish more colleges took notice of him because he’s a difference-maker, and he can do so at any level he wants.”

Downers Grove North’s defense stood firm on a fourth-and-goal from its 1 in the first half. Charlie Cruse had an interception in the second quarter, and Jameson Ordway picked off a pass and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The Trojans’ early-season success isn’t a total surprise. They were on the radar.

Downers Grove North was 7-4 last year, and sophomore quarterback Owen Lansu is a top prospect whose varsity debut was eagerly awaited.

There are several other talented players on the team, including linebacker Cael Brezina, an Iowa State recruit.

“It’s a big moment for us,” Horeni said. “It’s been a long time since we beat them, so it’s fun to do.”

Lansu, 6-2 and 185 pounds, was 9-for-16 for 95 yards. Senior Owen Thulin had three catches for 43 yards for the Trojans (3-0, 1-0 West Suburban Silver).

“We knew it was going to be a tough one,” Thulin said. “They are the most physical team in the West Suburban Conference, and we just had to match it.”

Glenbard West (1-2, 0-1) had not scored a touchdown on offense in the first 11 quarters of the season but finally broke through on a 13-yard run by senior Teyion Oriental with 3:57 left.

The Hilltoppers beat Marist 7-6 in Week 1 and lost to a powerhouse team in St. Louis last week. They are missing nine starters because of injury, including dynamic running back Julius Ellens.

“The defense played extremely well the first two weeks,” Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said.

“We didn’t tackle well today, and [Battle] played extremely well running the ball.”

Downers Grove North is favored in its next two games. If the Trojans beat Proviso West and Oak Park, it could set up a huge Week 6 showdown against York.

“This is going to open everyone’s eyes,” Battle said. “Not just at school. The state’s gonna be looking at us. It’s time to prove ourselves and keep going.”

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