Glenbard East puts it all together, hands Glenbard South first loss

Amonte Cook has rushing, receiving TD, Matthew Larson runs for 177 yards in 28-14 Rams’ win

Glenbard East's Matthew Larson (1) runs up the middle during football game between Glenbard South at Glenbard East.   Oct 13, 2023.

LOMBARD – After losing in the final seconds to South Elgin in Week 2, the Glenbard East coaching staff stressed the importance of closing out tight games.

On Oct. 13, the Rams proved they heard that message loud and clear at the most opportune time.

With the Upstate Eight conference title hanging in the balance, Glenbard East put together 48 minutes of outstanding football in a 28-14 home win over previously undefeated Glenbard South. The Rams, Raiders and South Elgin all enter Week 9 atop the league standings with matching 7-1 records.

”We’ve worked hard every day since the summer, especially for this game,” said Amonte Cook, who had both a receiving and rushing touchdown. “We all did our jobs. We all wanted this and everybody did great today. All three phases were great. But it begins in practice. Everybody works hard in practice. There are no off days. And that starts with our coaches. [Coach John] Walters is a great coach.”

Cook’s 11-yard scoring run put Glenbard East ahead for good at 14-7 midway through the second quarter. His 27-yard TD reception from Blake Salvino increased that margin shortly after halftime.

It was one of three touchdowns thrown by Salvino, who also connected with Gianbiagio Brusca for a 5-yard score and Chris Renford for a 58-yard strike. Salvino finished 12 of 15 through the air for 184 yards while also playing linebacker for a defensive unit that held a high-powered Raiders offense averaging 47 points a game in check.

Glenbard East's Amonte Cook (5) runs in a touchdown during football game between Glenbard South at Glenbard East.   Oct 13, 2023.

The Rams have allowed only 64 points on the season, with no opponent scoring more than 17.

”This means a lot to us,” Salvino said. “We have playoffs coming up and this gets us a better seed while also getting us ready for that. It’s all about preparing us for the playoffs. We knew this was going to be a tough game, but we prepared hard and came through with it.

“We have great defensive backs. They keep everything in front of them. And we have a great D-line that blows plays up and keeps pressure on the quarterback. All-around, our defense has been great.”

Not to be forgotten was the rushing performance of Matthew Larson, who finished with 177 yards on 26 carries.

“This is huge,” Larson said. “I feel like we’ve worked so hard. After we let one get away against South Elgin, this was our second chance. We were so grateful to have this opportunity and [this] week we will try to secure it [at least a share of the conference title].

”We had so much fire. We prepared all week and our O-line came out and played great. I think the biggest part of tonight was how our O-line and D-line played.”

Renford finished with four catches for 85 yards. Brusca and Aaron Dotson contributed interceptions.

”I’m so proud of them,” said defensive coordinator and 2008 Glenbard East grad Pat Walker, who was the acting head coach with Walters away from the team because of a family matter. “It was a great effort and I’m so happy we finished the game.

”To give up 14 points against a team like that, a team with some unbelievable players, and then to close it out is a great thing. Against South Elgin we played well for 47 minutes and 50 seconds, but we didn’t finish it out. We’ve been on them about closing it out and tonight we did.”

Notre Dame recruit Cam Williams brought in seven receptions for 122 yards for Glenbard South. He scored on a 60-yard pass from Michael Champagne that brought the visitors to within 20-14. Champagne threw for 268 yards, including a 21-yard TD to Anthony Colby. Shaun Aderholt had an interception.

”They played very, very well,” Glenbard South coach Ryan Crissey said. “They were the better football team. They won the line of scrimmage. They were more physical. It came down to fundamentals of both blocking and tackling and they were better in those areas.

”But we still have so much to play for and this is a special group. This type of loss puts things in perspective and gets us hyper focused on what we need to improve on.”