DGN falls short of upset, loses 13-10 Glenbard West

Anthony Marsicano, Sports Editor

DGN Varsity football returned home Friday night after two straight away games as they looked to defeat conference rival Glenbard West for the first time in 15 years. Both teams dropped their previous game to conference rivals -DGN to Hinsdale Central and Glenbard to York- as they sought to regain momentum heading into the final weeks of the season before playoffs.

The game began just after 7 PM as DGN received the opening kickoff. The first quarter was a quiet one, neither team came very close to scoring aside from a missed Trojan field goal with three minutes remaining in the first. The trend continued into the second quarter as a drive after drive ended in punts. DGN again found themselves in field position comfortable enough to attempt a field goal, this time kicker Sean Ryniec was able to drill it for the game’s first points. Because of his kick, Ryniec and the Trojans entered the halftime break with a 3-0 lead on the Chicago Sun Times’ ninth-ranked team in the state.

Both teams seemed to wake up following the break, as the game’s second half became a lot more eventful while remaining a defensive battle. It began around five minutes into the third quarter; Glenbard found themselves facing a 4th and 16 near the red zone. They opted not to kick a field goal and ended up converting the first down to set themselves up for the game’s first touchdown shortly thereafter. DGN was able to answer, sophomore running back Noah Battle found the endzone after being set up by a huge catch from receiver Tommy Finley. The quarter ended in a score of 10-7 with DGN maintaining their three-point lead. 

Trojan defensive back Khalil Copeland began the fourth quarter with an interception on the very first play. The resulting offensive drive ended in a punt but DGN quickly recovered the ball as Glenbard threw another interception, this time to Brooks Johnson. DGN burned some more time off the clock and then punted again. A fumble on the very first play of Glenbard’s next drive gave the Trojans their third consecutive turnover in the fourth quarter. Time was running out as DGN faced 4th and 1 situation on their own 35-yard line. Head Coach Joe Horeni found himself tasked with a difficult decision: punt the ball and challenge Glenbard to march down the majority of the field to score, or go for it and seal a Trojan victory with a potential one-yard gain. He boldly opted to go for it with a handoff to Battle, but the running back was called down just short of the first down marker. The Hilltoppers took over at the 35, and found the endzone a few short plays later to take the lead with 25 seconds left. They missed the extra point to extend the lead to four points, and so the Trojans received the kickoff down 13-10 as they would aim to quickly get into field goal territory for Ryniec. They would never get the chance however, as Reichert threw a quick interception that cemented the loss for DGN; they had blown the lead to Glenbard.  

The play that decided the game was undoubtedly the 4th and 1 call. It’s been easy for many to say punting was the easy choice; after all the Trojan defense had allowed just 7 points up through that point, statistically it would be a safe assumption that they could get one last stop. Hindsight is 20/20, the choice in the moment was far more difficult. Horeni found himself just one yard away from the biggest win of his coaching career at DGN. A conversion would have beaten the ninth-ranked team in the state. DGN plays OPRF this week as they look to clinch a playoff appearance with a win for the first time since 2019.