Williams powers Downers S. past Brother Rice

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. -- Downers Grove South notched a crucial second win in Class 8A of the IHSA playoffs by routing Chicago Southside hopefuls Brother Rice 41-14 on Friday.

The Mustangs opened the scoring within three plays, as Josh Williams caught a tight pass from quarterback AJ Simoncelli for a 48-yard touchdown.

Downers Grove SouthBrother RiceBrother Rice struggled with the ball early, unable to convert on fourth down twice and barely able to get within their opponents' territory.

The Mustangs, in contrast, did well by capitalizing on Crusader turnovers. An early punt to Brother Rice was fumbled at the Crusaders' 38 yard line, putting Downers Grove South in scoring position. Kicker Anthony Farinelli put up his first of two field goals make it 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The Crusaders would also fumble on first down in the second quarter again handing the Mustangs another scoring opportunity.

"We made way too many mistakes in the first half. We gave them great field position, gave them the ball," Brother Rice coach Steve Nye said. "But our guys didn't quit. They never quit."

Before the end of the half, Williams, who had 151 total yards on the night, scored the second touchdown, and a third right after the next Brother Rice fumble at their own 20. Farinelli kicked another 3-point strike with 0:04 left in the half to make it 27-0.

The Crusaders took some points back six minutes into the second half, as Andrew Walker raced in a 27-yard touchdown off a handoff. Walker, who had 82 total yards, followed it up five minutes later with another touchdown on the next possession to make it 27-14.

"We got comfortable a little in the third quarter and [Brother Rice] got some momentum," said Mustangs offensive tackle Sean Eslit. "But we found our rhythm and worked hard to get it done the last 12 minutes."

Downers South's defense contained Rice throughout the fourth quarter, as Crusaders quarterback Pat Parilli exited the game injured with nine minutes to go.

Simoncelli's fourth-quarter 18-yard pass to Kaylon Miller bumped the Mustangs' lead to 20 points. John Wauer later ran in a 1-yard handoff to seal the deal for Downers Grove South.

Player of the game: Josh Williams, whose power and consistency gave Downers South three early TDs.

The game was over when: At 34-14, the Mustangs' defense clamped down on Brother Rice, ending their scoring hopes.

Stat of the game: Three touchdowns and 151 yards by Williams in a dominant Downers South first half.

Play of the game: Kaylon Miller's sneaky TD reception off the right side at the start of the fourth.

Quote of the game: AJ Simoncelli, "It was our offensive line. Those guys won the game for us."

What it means: DGS moves on, and Brother Rice's season ends. Martez Walker and Andrew Walker, the Crusaders' top two all-time leading rushers, graduate to college ball.