Downers South offense explodes in win over Addison Trail
The halftime Homecoming fireworks extravaganza wasn't the only thing to light up the sky Friday night in Downers Grove.
Downers Grove South exploded for six touchdowns in the opening half and cruised to a 46-20 victory over Addison Trail in the regular season finale.
Overcoming an 0-3 start for the second year in a row, the Mustangs (6-3, 6-0) with the win captured back-to-back West Suburban Gold Conference championships while qualifying for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season (not counting the Covid year).
"It's really special," said senior running back Deon Davis. "The coaches were talking, the last time we won conference two years in a row was when we were five-years old. I'm happy we did it. But I'm more happy for the sophomores that are going to be juniors and the juniors that will be seniors.
"We are trying to set a foundation and a culture for the guys coming up."
Davis found the end zone twice, on runs of 37 and 9 yards, and now has 10 touchdowns over the last four games. The senior gained 106 yards on just 8 carries.
"We didn't expect to win this game without doing the work," Davis said. "We had a great week of practice and we believed that if we executed, we would win the game.
"After those first three games, we raised our standard and our expectations. And we haven't taken our foot off the pedal since."
Backfield mate Kayden Smith also had a night to remember, tallying a trio of touchdowns. He scored on runs of 68 and 20 yards and caught a 36-yard touchdown from Will Potter on a flea-flicker. He finished with 119 yards on 8 attempts as well.
"When we get our offense rolling, I feel like nobody can really stop us," Smith said. "In those first three weeks, I think we were playing more as individuals. Once we started to play as a team, that's when I feel like we really took off."
"It's really special (to win conference two years in a row) and I'd like to do it again next year."
Potter was 7 of 7 through the air for 129 yards and also found Keon Maggit for a 23-yard touchdown. Potter added a 21-yard scamper for a score.
Connor Kelly contributed an interception on defense.
"We did it (win conference) for a lot of years," said DGS coach Mark Molinari, whose team has scored 28 or more points in every contest during this 6-game winning streak. "And then we had a lull. We feel we are starting to get back to where we were under coach (Johns) Belskis in the late 90s and early 2000s.
"After our start, we still had goals. Conference was one of them as well as hosting a playoff game; to do that, we will have to win next week. We went through this (an 0-3 start) last year. Just keep the wheels on the bus and stay focused. And you have to give a lot of credit to our seniors, they earned the right to be the leaders of this team."
Despite the loss, all is far from lost for the Blazers (6-3, 3-3), who will be making their first trip to the postseason since 2014. That also marked Addison Trail's last winning season.
Noah Cruz hauled in a pair of touchdown catches from quarterback Nico Dill and Dominic Renc added a 32-yard interception return for a score.
Dill was 13 of 20 for 150 yards with Cruz and Raja Corhn each having five receptions. Casey Carlson also caught 3 passes for 71 yards.