WHEATON, Ill. – Glenbard West hoped to face Wheaton Warrenville South since losing to the Tigers in the Class 7A state championship last season.
The Hilltoppers’ motivation was simple: They were out to prove last season’s Wheaton Warrenville South double-overtime victory was a fluke.
Wheaton Warrenville South wanted the rematch just as much. The Tigers knew last year’s state championship could have gone either way, and they were out to erase any doubts this time around.
On Saturday, No. 1 Wheaton Warrenville South quieted any remaining skeptics and handed No. 10 Glenbard West a 40-20 defeat in the Class 7A quarterfinals.
After the victory, one Tigers player yelled, “Twice is nice!”
“Getting up for this game wasn’t hard at all,” said Wheaton Warrenville South running back Matt Rogers, who scored two touchdowns. “They’ve had this game marked on the calendar since last year. We’ve had this game marked on the calendar since last year. They’re a great team. Once we saw the playoff pairings, we wanted Glenbard West since the beginning. We just wanted to take it to them and show the world and settle the dispute from last year.”
Wheaton Warrenville South defensive back Caleb Bednarz began putting that to rest on the game’s opening drive. On the third play, Bednarz intercepted Glenbard West quarterback Daver Glawe’s pass near the Hilltoppers’ 20-yard line and returned it for a touchdown.
The Tigers were up 7-0, and their high-powered offense had yet to take the field.
“I think it definitely sent a message,” Bednarz said. “That’s exactly what we wanted to do -- send a message. I’d say so. It sent the tone for the rest of the game.”
Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet agreed.
“It’s enough you have to try to stop them with your defense,” Hetlet said. “But when they score on your offense, it’s not good. So that wasn’t good.”
Bednarz added another interception later for his seventh of the season. Austin Pannell and Mike Monterrubio also picked off passes for Wheaton Warrenville South.
The Tigers built their lead to 14-0 in the first quarter when quarterback Reilly O’Toole hooked up with his favorite target, Titus Davis, for a 67-yard touchdown pass. O’Toole followed it up with two touchdown runs of his own, and Wheaton Warrenville South had a 27-13 lead at halftime.
O’Toole, an Illinois recruit, was as near perfect as he’s been all season. He was 15-of-21 passing for 263 yards and two touchdowns. He completed all seven of his passes in the second half. He also rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
“The Reilly O’Toole kid is just … his vision is good,” Hetlet said. “I knew we were going to pressure them. We did pressure them like nobody else has this year. He just made a lot of plays with his feet. He’s a special kid.”
Davis was the beneficiary of O’Toole’s passes, catching seven balls for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Glenbard West’s top wide receiver, Mark Hiben, wasn’t bad himself. After setting a state record for 319 receiving yards last week, Hiben had nine catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Glenbard West (10-2) made it a game in the second half. After stopping the Tigers on the opening drive of the third quarter, Glawe found Hiben for a 17-yard touchdown to pull within 27-20.
The Tigers (12-0) answered on the following drive when Rogers scored from 1 yard out. After Bednarz intercepted his second pass, Rogers put the game to rest with another goal-line touchdown run.