By Matt Nestor
The Hononegah Indians knew they faced a tall order in the second round of the IHSA Class 7A playoffs. And that included the entire Glenbard West team, not just their 6-foot-6-inch quarterback Tyler Warden.
But despite a game second-half performance, the Indians could not overcome a 27-0 halftime deficit against the top-seeded Hilltoppers, and lost 27-14.
“The playoffs are really unpredictable, because you don’t know who is going to win,” Hononegah running back Bryan Rothmaler said. “Boylan was 9-0 and got upset by a 5-4 team. This team was 10-0, so they could have been upset by us.”
It was evident early on, however, that this was too much of a step up for the Indians.
After a slow start, the Glenbard offense really started to click late in the first quarter. Warden, who is being recruited by several Big Ten teams, found Justin Mesch for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
After a Hononegah three-and-out, Warden again connected with Mesch for a 15-yard touchdown strike. On the next Indians possession, the toughest blow was dealt when quarterback Chase Robinson’s pass was intercepted by Jack Marston and returned 38 yards for a touchdown.
Glenbard added a third touchdown from Mesch on a 16-yard run before the half was up to take their 27-0 lead into the half.
Hononegah finished with 204 total yards in the game, but most of that came in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. When the game was still close, Glenbard used its size advantage to put the clamps on the smaller Indians.
“They had very good linebackers,” Rothmaler said. “They have a big lineup. We just couldn’t move the ball.”
The Indians didn’t go down without a fight, however. The Indians’ defense shut down the Glenbard offense in the second half.
In the fourth quarter, Rothmaler was the recipient of a hook-and-lateral play to score a 29-yard touchdown, and then also punched in a 1-yard score.
After the second touchdown, the Indians had a great bounce on an onside kick and had a great chance to recover the loose ball. But Glenbard recovered the kick, and ran out the clock.
“We tried really hard, and just wanted to leave it on the field,” Rothmaler said. “They were big. Our coach said (after the game), the three teams that beat us were bigger, faster and stronger.”
From the November 11-17, 2009 issue