Cesario's blocked FG ices Glenbard West's comeback win over Lyons Township
As Glenbard West has learned plentifully this season, nothing comes easy.
After a narrow one-point win to open the season against Marist, the Hilltoppers were blown out a combined 41-0 over the previous two games entering Saturday vs. Lyons Township.
Glenbard West, down a combined 10 starters across defense and offense due to injuries through the first three weeks, per coach Chad Hetlet, still dug deep. And, somehow found a way in their gutsy 13-10 victory over the visiting Lions.
Hilltoppers senior linebacker Ben Cesario was responsible for blocking the 42-yard field goal attempt from Jack McMahon with 50 seconds remaining. It was one of two missed field goals on a frustrating afternoon for the Lions' special teams unit.
"Coach was telling everybody to go off the wings," Cesario said following their jubilant homecoming win. "Earlier [on a tipped field goal attempt in the second quarter] Ben Troyer tipped one, so I knew he wasn't going to be kicking it very high. So, I don't know, tried to get up as high as I could."
"I can't even put it into words," Hetlet said. "We played a tough Marist team. It was physical and we lost a couple starters in that game for the year. Then, we went down to De Smet [Missouri] and we lost six starters that week; and we lost another two starters last week ... I can't be more proud of how they played and executed. LT is a really good football team. It was a huge, huge win for us."
On the Lions' drive to set up the eventual attempt that spanned four minutes, they were plagued with two ineligible men downfield penalties and an unsportsmanlike penalty that halted any semblance of momentum.
" ... We shot ourselves in the foot. We kept having penalties and guys down field, but we're going to use this as motivation," Lions coach Jon Beutjer said. "We're going to use this to get better."
Glenbard West, though, started the game slowly. LT cornerback Caleb Greer had an interception two plays into the game, which was rewarded by Danny Carroll on a 1-yard rushing score for the 7-0 lead with 5:28 left in the first quarter. The Hilltoppers answered back on Aidan Nelson's chip shot field goal to make it 7-3 shortly into the second quarter.
Both teams then traded punts. LT had a chance to add to its lead on McMahon's next attempt, but Troyer's block deterred it. McMahon did, however, connect on a 42-yarder with 19 seconds before the end of the half, where it remained 10-3 Lions at the break.
Out of halftime, Glenbard West linebacker Eli Limouris nearly pulled off a long fumble return for a touchdown two plays into LT's drive, but Carroll was ruled down to spoil the newfound momentum. The only score of the third quarter came on Nelson's 32-yard field goal to chip into the Lions' lead 10-6 to set the stage for an eventful fourth quarter.
After an ensuing LT punt, the Hilltoppers found life in its passing game with a pair of crucial completions from Charlie Cline to Brian Clohecy for a combined 25 yards to keep the chains moving. Teyion Oriental then found the end zone for the go-ahead score with 9:28 remaining to make it 13-10 Glenbard West.
The Lions were soon driving, but a false start on fourth-and-2 on the Hilltoppers' 38-yard-line backed them up. Undeterred, the offense stayed out and quarterback Ryan Jackson's rush was stopped inches short of the first down.
Glenbard West did nothing on its final offensive drive, leaving it in the hands of their defense to finish the job.
Jackson finished 26 for 35 with 214 yards. Lions wideout Travis Stamm had an outstanding 15 catches for 178 yards to pace the offense.