Downers Grove South explodes for six first-half TDs, cruises past Addison Trail to clinch WSC Gold title

Deon Davis rushes for 106 yards and two TDs, Kayden Smith scores three TDs in 46-20 win

Downer's Grove South's Kayden Smith looks for running room against Addison Trail on Friday, Oct.20,2023 in Downers Grove.

DOWNERS GROVE – The halftime Homecoming fireworks extravaganza wasn’t the only thing to light up the sky Oct. 20 in Downers Grove.

Downers Grove South exploded for six touchdowns in the first half and cruised to a 46-20 victory over Addison Trail in the regular-season finale.

Overcoming an 0-3 start for the second year in a row, the Mustangs (6-3, 6-0) captured back-to-back West Suburban Gold conference championships with the win while also clinching the program’s fourth consecutive playoff appearance.

”It’s really special,” senior running back Deon Davis said. “The coaches were talking, the last time we won conference two years in a row was when we were 5 years old. I’m happy we did it, but I’m more happy for the sophomores that are going to be juniors and the juniors that will be seniors. We are trying to set a foundation and a culture for the guys coming up.”

Davis found the end zone twice on runs of 37 and 9 yards and has 10 touchdowns over the past four games. The senior gained 106 yards on only eight carries against Addison Trail.

”We didn’t expect to win this game without doing the work,” Davis said. “We had a great week of practice and we believed that if we executed, we would win the game.

”After those first three games, we raised our standard and our expectations. And we haven’t taken our foot off the pedal since.”

Backfield mate Kayden Smith also had a night to remember, tallying three touchdowns. He scored on runs of 68 and 20 yards and caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Will Potter on a flea-flicker. Smith finished with 119 yards on only eight carries.

”When we get our offense rolling, I feel like nobody can really stop us,” Smith said. “In those first three weeks, I think we were playing more as individuals. Once we started to play as a team, that’s when I feel like we really took off.

”It’s really special [to win conference two years in a row] and I’d like to do it again next year.”

Addison Trail's Noah Cruz carries the ball against Downers Grove South's on Friday, Oct.20,2023 in Downers Grove.

Potter was 7 of 7 through the air for 129 yards and connected with Keon Maggit for a 23-yard touchdown. Potter added a 21-yard scamper for a score. Connor Kelly contributed an interception on defense.

”We did it [win conference] for a lot of years,” said Downers South coach Mark Molinari, whose team has scored 28 or more points in every contest during the six-game winning streak. “And then we had a lull. We feel we are starting to get back to where we were under Coach [John] Belskis in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

”After our start, we still had goals. Conference was one of them as well as hosting a playoff game. To do that, we will have to win [this] week. We went through this [an 0-3 start] last year. Just keep the wheels on the bus and stay focused. And you have to give a lot of credit to our seniors. They earned the right to be the leaders of this team.”

Despite the loss, all is far from lost for the Blazers (6-3, 3-3), who will be making their first trip to the postseason since 2014. That also marked Addison Trail’s last winning season.

Noah Cruz hauled in two touchdown catches from quarterback Nico Dill and Dominic Renc added a 32-yard interception return for a score. Dill was 13 of 20 for 150 yards. Cruz and Raja Corhn each had five receptions. Casey Carlson caught three passes for 71 yards.