OAK PARK – “Take care of your duties on the football field and the scoreboard will take care of itself,” is a phrase often used by Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet.
His Hilltoppers went to Oak Park-River Forest on Friday night, handled their duties quite well and sure enough if the scoreboard didn’t reflect the great play. The 3-0 visitors jumped ahead 28-0 after one quarter of play and went on to pound a solid Huskies squad 60-20.
Receiver Julius Ellens caught touchdown passes of 39 and 52 yards in the opening quarter, the defense tallied a pair of touchdowns, quarterback Korey Tai was in on three scores, and running back Joey Pope continued his lights-out play this season with 214 yards and a trio of touchdowns on just 14 carries, not to mention his stout play on defense.
“Our offense executed very well tonight, and obviously the O-line opened up some big holes,” Hetlet said. “The scoreboard will take care of itself if we do what we’re supposed to do. We didn’t punt the ball once, and that was good to have the defense get in on it (scoring-wise).”
Glenbard West marched 56 yards on the night’s opening possession, with Jason Thomas capping the drive with a 2-yard run. The Huskies (1-2) then were forced to punt, and shortly thereafter Ellens snared the first of his two TD grabs for a 14-0 lead just four and half minutes into the game.
The sophomore wideout added a 52-yard scoring pass from Tai in the second quarter as the Hilltoppers built a 34-13 lead at the half.
Ellens said he and his quarterback do a lot of work in the film room and on the practice field, and it’s paying off in game action.
“We really concentrate on film and we put it all to practice,” he said. “Me and Kai have good communication, and a lot of our plays are quick strikes. We get ourselves ready, and we make stuff happen.”
The defense also made plenty of stuff happen on Friday, including a 42-yard interception return for a score by J.T. Thomas in the first quarter and a fumble scoop-and-score by linebacker Pat Shadid that brought on a running clock at 60-20 early in the fourth quarter.
And then there was Pope, who broke off a 63-yard touchdown run in the first half and added scores of 47 and 12 yards in the second half. The junior running back/defensive back has lofty goals this fall for Glenbard West.
“I think we’ve got a great team,” Pope said. “I’ve got so many good friends on this team, and we all want to go all the way. We’re going to fight for a state championship, but for now we play each week to go 1-0.”
If the Hilltoppers keep averaging more than 50 points each week on the scoreboard, they may just reach their lofty goals.