Willowbrook clinches playoff berth

Willowbrook senior kicker BettyAnn Garrett got plenty of exercise Friday night.

Every few minutes in the first half of her team's 56-6 rout of Morton, she would trot out, kick an extra point, then go back to the sidelines and watch her offense score yet another touchdown.

She's perfect in point-afters this season and went 8 for 8 Friday. All that, despite off-and-on rain that made it hard to spot the ball, but she and senior holder J.T. Ceh came up with a novel solution.

"I have tape stuck to my helmet because that's where I mark where I want the ball, and when we went out for our practice kicks, and it wasn't sticking," Garrett said. "We figured out that we could shove the tape into the ground to mark the spot."

That was about the only problem the Warriors had in clinching a playoff berth and improving 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the West Suburban Gold.

Willowbrook put this game away early by staking out a 28-0 lead after the first quarter, thanks to a pair of touchdowns each by senior running backs Jack Jessen and Chris Diaz.

Turns out, the Warriors were just getting started. Senior quarterback John Taylor got into the act with a 10-yard run early in the second quarter, while Diaz added another 9-yard run later.

If you're doing the math, that's 6 rushing touchdowns, not to mention 6 extra points by Garrett. The holes Jessen and Diaz in particular scampered through were courtesy of an offensive line made up of senior David Tucker, junior Matthew Knudtson, senior Tyler Guerrero, senior Edgar Quintas and senior Brandon Loth.

"We were just doing what we always rep," Knudtson said. "Ever since summer, we're repping four fronts and when we get the opportunity to play we enjoy it so much. There is always a healthy competition on the (offensive) line between me and the other guard, Edgar (Quintas) to see who can trap the hardest and basically knock someone on their (backside). It's a lot of fun."

All told, Jessen rushed 8 times for 89 yards, while Diaz chipped in 7 rushes for 66 yards. Junior C.J. Harris was the leading receiver with 1 catch for a 78-yard touchdown from fellow junior Chase Cavanaugh well after the game was decided.

Sure, it was a good night for Willowbrook, especially the playoff-clincher, but coach Nick Hildreth decided to keep things in perspective.

"We talked about extending the heartbeat," he said. "Every team's got a heartbeat, so we talked about that. Now starting tomorrow, coming in and just work to get better.

"We really didn't talk about the playoffs much until you get to that sixth one, when you know you're in, and you have next week and the opportunity get better and go from there."

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