GLEN ELLYN – There is no denying the impact that Hayden Carlson has on the Glenbard West defense.
But this fall, the Hilltoppers’ senior safety also is making a contribution on offense.
On Saturday, Carlson hauled in a 41-yard touchdown reception, helping his team to a 37-7 win over Hinsdale Central.
“I’m a defensive guy at heart,” said Carlson, “but when you have the opportunity to come in and score touchdowns, I’m always up for that.”
This week, Glenbard West might need additional heroics from Carlson as the Hilltoppers travel to square off against undefeated Oak Park-River Forest for sole possession of first place in the West Suburban Silver conference. Making the game a little extra special for the senior is the fact that his mom’s family is from Oak Park.
“I’ve never played there on a Friday night,” Carlson said. “It will be fun and I love their stadium. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The challenge the Hilltoppers face is stiff.
“They are good and we will have to play our best game to beat them,” Glenbard West head coach Chad Hetlet said. “It should be a great, great game. They are very explosive and well-coached. They play good defense, they have a great running back, [Simmie] Cobbs is probably the best wide receiver in the conference and Lloyd Yates, their QB, is as good as anybody.”
Glenbard West will enter the game with plenty of momentum after clicking on all cylinders against Hinsdale Central.
Running back Donahvon Vaughn, a transfer from Glenbard North, rushed for nearly 200 yards. Scott Andrews added two touchdowns on the ground and Jermon Kindle-Joyner and Brenen Wilson also had rushing scores. Hayden Lekacz contributed a 25-yard field goal.
“Here it’s a lot different than Glenbard North in that they are a one-back team,” Vaughn said, comparing his former team and his current team. “But we are coming together and running and blocking for each other, and that’s just like Glenbard North.”
On the other side of the ball, the Hilltoppers’ defense didn’t allow a single pass completion and stifled the Red Devils’ ground game despite the absence of linebacker Austin Warden, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
“We are so young defensively, we’ve got five or six junior starting now,” Hetlet said, “but they are getting better. We are not big but they are really fast to the ball.”