VILLA PARK – After a slow start to the season, the Willowbrook football team is right back to where it is accustomed to - dominating the West Suburban Gold.
Behind a physical offensive line and four rushing scores, the Warriors captured their 24th consecutive league victory, defeating Downers Grove South 34-7 Friday in Villa Park.
With the group of Samuel Williams, I’Zerick Yates, Declan Miller, Max Manning and Lucas Kusmierz dominating the line of scrimmage, Josh Brown rushed for 154 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns.
“We knew we wanted to get the ground game going,” said Kusmierz, who holds down the right tackle position. “That’s been a focus, fixing our run game. That’s where the identity of our team is, we are a ground and pound team.”
Brown’s first touchdown gave the home team the lead for good at 14-7 midway through the second quarter. The senior then added scoring runs of 14 and 2-yards on back-to-back possessions in the third, with Willowbrook recovering a squib kickoff in the middle.
Evan Stubblefield also contributed a 9-yard touchdown run for the Warriors (2-2, 2-0).
“We’ve come together as a team,” said Yates, who plays left guard, “and we are communicating more. Now we just have to keep working and keep improving. We have a young group and a lot of guys who hadn’t played varsity football before. We just have to stay by their side and keep helping each other.”
Willowbrook’s defense also got into the scoring act with Joseph Tumilty returning a fumble 99 yards for a TD. That came on the last play of the third quarter and accounted for the final margin. In addition, that unit tallied four sacks, with Cristian Lager, Brown, Daniel Dowling and Patrick Michael all getting to the quarterback.
“I thought our guys were physical,” said Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth, whose program has won four conference titles in a row. “Our guys were flying around and I thought they did that during practice as well.
“I feel like earlier in the year, we were a little behind where we normally would be at the time. It was a weird transition from the spring season to the summer. We are just trying to find our groove and I thought we had more opportunistic plays and big plays from our guys.”
The Mustangs (0-4, 0-1) scored their first points of the season on a 5-yard run by Deon Davis to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Jacob Diamantos had an interception for the visitors.
“We got outhit tonight,” DGS coach Mark Molinari said. “Willowbrook has been the conference champs and they outhit us, that’s the bottom line.”