Willowbrook clobbers Morton

Willowbrook has been the kind of football team this year that takes what the defense gives it. Friday against visiting Morton, the Warriors took, and took and took some more.

Senior quarterback M.J. Ranieri completed 13 of 19 passes for 274 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first half as the Warriors built a 42-6 halftime lead en route to a 49-20 pasting of the Mustangs in the West Suburban Gold.

Ranieri completed one more pass in the second half to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Chris Diaz before heading to the bench with Willowbrook (4-2, 2-1) leading 49-6 with 9:17 remaining in the third quarter.

The 6-foot, 189-pound senior finished with 285 yards passing. But Ranieri said he doesn't get into statistics.

"Doesn't really matter as long as we get the 'W,'" said Ranieri, who did not start last year. "Our offense is fun. It's fast. It gets the defense tired. It's explosive. We work hard. It's all about tempo, too. We had a hard week of practice, working on tempo. We work on that every week."

Willowbrook's uptempo offense produced touchdowns on six of its first seven possessions. Ranieri threw touchdown passes of 28 yards to Sikander Zafar, 55 yards to Khalif Copeland, 78 yards to Jonathan Kelso and 25 yards to Mike Dembowski.

A successful onside kick led to a 13-yard touchdown run by Jack Jessen with 9:30 left in the first half that extended the lead to 28-6, and Chris Diaz's 24-yard touchdown gallop extended the advantage to 35-6 before Dembowski's first touchdown catch of the season closed the first-half scoring,

"My receivers are amazing," Ranieri said. "I have been friends with a lot of them for so long. We connect well. They're great. They're athletic."

Dembowski finished with a team-high 7 receptions for 88 yards.

"We're a run-heavy team," he said. "We like to run the ball. I try to make the best of my opportunities. Our coaches are in the (press) box. They see what's best. If we want to run the ball, we run the ball. If we have numbers, we'll throw it."

Dembowski even turned over his point-after responsibilities to junior BettyAnn Garrett after his touchdown catch.

"I love to give her a chance," he said. "She's a great kicker. She'll do great for us next year."

Junior Greg Hoard had touchdown runs of 72 and 25 yards for Morton (1-5, 1-2).

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