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Villa Park

Barnes ‘the heartbeat’ of Warrior offense

Willowbrook senior running back Jeremy Barnes (middle) follows his blockers during the Warriors' win over host Morton last Friday.
Willowbrook senior running back Jeremy Barnes (middle) follows his blockers during the Warriors' win over host Morton last Friday.

BERWYN – Willowbrook’s offense continues to put up big numbers, and the numbers are coming from different players.

Last week it was running back Jeremy Barnes who played the role of star in the Warriors’ 49-19 win Sept. 27 at Morton for the Mustangs’ homecoming game.

Barnes ran for three touchdowns and 218 yards on the ground and had 300 yards of total offense as the Warriors improved to 4-1 and 2-0 in the West Suburban Gold.

“He still is truly the heartbeat of our offense when things are going good,” Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth said. “Regardless of our tempo or how many times we want to throw the ball, we want to churn yards on the ground and that opens other things up.”

It was Willowbrook’s fourth win in a row, and different players have been the stat leader in each of those games.

Brian Johnson threw for 675 yards in the Week 2 win at Lyons Township. Devin Childress had seven catches, 166 yards receiving and a touchdown Week 3 at Hinsdale South. Hayden Adams had three touchdowns and two interceptions Week 4 against York. Now, Barnes can add his name to the list by running for a new career high.

“Pretty much everybody on our offense is an athlete and they can come out any game and play,” Barnes said.

The passing game remained a prolific threat to complement Barnes’ big day. Johnson passed for 250 yards and three touchdowns to bring his season total to 17 passing scores.

Johnson hit Childress for a 30-yard TD to cap off a five-play drive to start the game. Barnes doubled the lead on an 11-yard run by Barnes with 4:23 left in the second quarter.

Morton (1-4, 1-2 WSG) answered to stay within 14-7 at halftime and kept pace at 21-13 before two more scores from Barnes and a second from Childress put the game away.

Barnes had a little extra motivation to make his mark on the game.

“They picked us for homecoming so I took that personally,” Barnes said. “I just had to show them something.”

The Warriors host winless Proviso East tonight for their homecoming.

Willowbrook 49, Morton 19

Willowbrook leaders

Passing: Brian Johnson 14-for-29, 250 yards, 3 TDs
Rushing: Jeremy Barnes 27-218, 3 TDs; Johnson 5-22; Josan Murphy 4-13, TD
Receiving: Devin Childress 5-93, 2 TDs; Barnes 2-82; Hayden Adams 4-48; Kyle Rushing 1-3, TD

Week 6: Willowbrook vs. Proviso East
7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: John A. Fischer Field, 1250 S. Ardmore Ave., Villa Park
Records: Willowbrook 4-1 (2-0 WSG), Proviso East 0-5 (0-2 WSG)
Outlook: The Warriors head into homecoming with a four-game winning streak and expectations of a victory against winless Proviso East. Willowbrook has averaged 43.5 points per game during the winning streak. The Pirates are averaging just 14.6 points per game.

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