High School Football Class 8A Playoffs: Marist rolls past Glenbard East, gets unbeaten S. Elgin in 2nd round
By Steve Metsch
Basking in the glow of a convincing postseason victory, Marist coach Ron Dawczak told his players to enjoy it for a night, then focus on their next opponent.
That probably won’t be hard for the RedHawks, who — as Glenbard East coach John Walters noted — play a tough schedule every season.
“It’s like they’ve already played nine state championship games,” Walters said after Marist defeated his Rams, 42-0, in the opening round of the Class 8A playoffs.
This year, Marist has faced off with six playoff teams including CCL/ESCC Blue rivals Loyola, Mount Carmel and Brother Rice. Its 46 opponents’ wins are tied for fourth-most in the 32-team Class 8A playoff field.
The RedHawks (7-3) looked in good form on a soggy Oct. 29, scoring three times in the first quarter on their way to a shutout victory. They will host South Elgin (10-0) in the second round.
Juniors Ryan Sims and and Dermot Smyth both caught two touchdown passes from senior quarterback Dontrell Jackson Jr., who was 12-of-15 for 175 yards and four touchdowns. Jackson also ran for a touchdown.
“We won today, but we have a lot of work to do,” Dawczak said. “As you go through the playoffs, the teams are going to get harder and harder. As long as we keep that mentality and work as hard as we can to control our effort, I feel confident.”
Jackson echoed his coach.
“It’s kind of a statement, but at the same time, you can’t get complacent,” Jackson said. “You can’t get too high, can’t get too low. … It’s a different beast in the playoffs; win or go home.”
The RedHawks led 35-0 at halftime.
Jackson began the binge when he found Ryan Sims with an 18-yard scoring strike at 7:51 of the first quarter.
Next, he passed 15 yards to Dermot Smyth for a touchdown with 5:39 left, then on the next series scored on a designed play, streaking down the field 53 yards for a touchdown.
“The line did a great job of blocking, gave me space,” he said.
In the second quarter, Jackson threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Smyth for a 28-0 lead.
Moments later, with Glenbard East near midfield, Marist linebacker Jimmy Rolder intercepted the football after defensive end Sam Colon had batted it high into the air. Rolder dashed 50 yards to the end zone for a 35-0 halftime lead.
“I saw a lot of green and just took off,” Rolder said.
Marist closed the scoring at 7:14 of the third quarter when Jackson tossed a 25-yard pass to Sims.
Jaylen Johnson led Marist rushers with 101 yards on 13 carries. Tyler O’Brochta led Marist receivers with 56 yards on five catches.
It wasn’t all offense for Marist. The closest to scoring Glenbard East got was a first-and-10 at the Redhawks 12 yard line. But four straight passes fell incomplete.
“Being able to stand tall down there, that was great to see,” Dawczak said.
Walters was not surprised.
“The schedule that they play, when you look at that, they have losses to Loyola, Mount Carmel and Brother Rice,” Walters said. “You’re talking about the cream of the crop in the state.
“They’re a great program. They attract great athletes. They’re big. They’re physical. They’re athletic.”