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Johnson, Willowbrook focus on conference after record-setting win

Willowbrook quarterback Brian Johnson throws a pass during his record-setting performance in the Warriors' win at Lyons Township on Friday.
Willowbrook quarterback Brian Johnson throws a pass during his record-setting performance in the Warriors' win at Lyons Township on Friday.

WESTERN SPRINGS – The table was set for Willowbrook’s football team to lose at Lyons Township.

The Warriors were coming off a loss to rival Glenbard East, a team which had won two games in the past two years, and were traveling to Lyons Township, a team which has made the Class 8A quarterfinals each of the past three seasons.

Not only did the Warriors beat LT, but they broke records in doing so. A week after Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth bemoaned the Warriors’ inability to finish drives, Willowbrook finished plenty of drives in a 62-49 win.

A score like that more closely resembles a dorm room game of Madden than high school football. Brian Johnson put up the most video game-like numbers by breaking the state’s known record for single-game passing yards with 675. He threw for seven touchdowns and ran for another in Willowbrook’s quick-fire offense.

“That’s a big part of our game,” Johnson said. “Keeping the tempo up and our foot on the pedal.”

Johnson said it was too hard to be aware of the numbers as the Warriors were in a tight game the whole way. While the Warriors never trailed, the game was tied at 49-49 before they pulled ahead for good.

Seniors Hayden Adams, Jeremy Barnes and Devin Childress also put up huge numbers on the receiving end of Johnson’s big day. Willowbrook broke four touchdowns of more than 40 yards.

“It gives us a lot of confidence and it makes us think we can beat anybody,” Childress said of the win. “We had a bitter taste in our mouth after Glenbard East. We really wanted to prove that we’re not worse than Glenbard East by beating LT.”

Now Willowbrook has to refocus for the conference opener. Hinsdale South began the season as one of the favorites for the West Suburban Gold, but the Hornets have lost to Romeoville and Downers Grove North.

The Warriors (1-1) are the only team to have a win in the Gold so far.

“A lot of people picked Hinsdale South to be No. 1, so we’re going to try to show we should be No. 1 and not them,” Johnson said.

The Hornets run an option-style offense, which is always one blown defensive assignment away from breaking a big touchdown run. Hildreth said the Hornets also use a defensive scheme they haven’t seen yet.

“They got some good athletes so it’s a headache prepping for,” Hildreth said. “It will be three, four, five [yards] and then 80. You have to have the assignments down every single snap or it’s going to break.”

Willowbrook 62, Lyons Township 49

Willowbrook leaders
Brian Johnson 40-for-52, 675 yards, 7 TDs
Rushing: Jeremy Barnes 9-86, TD; Johnson 7-39, TD
Receiving: Hayden Adams 16-253, 3 TDs; Barnes 8-243, 2 TDs; Devin Childress 10-113, TD

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