ROSELLE – After a fifth straight loss, Glenbard East football coach John Walters is hoping to see one thing heading into tonight's season finale against Wheaton Warrenville South.
"Fight," Walters said. "We have a very good opponent coming to our place. We have 30 or 31 seniors that are playing their last football game ever as a Glenbard East football player. I would hope they go out there and fight. They've fought all year."
Entering last week's game at Lake Park, Glenbard East had been outscored 166-7 in the previous four first halves of football.
Needless to say, those four games ended up in lopsided losses. The Rams stopped the trend by entering the locker room down two points against the Lancers. The problem last week was the second half. East didn't score after the break in a 37-14 loss.
"We turned the ball over in the second half," Walters said. "It got us in trouble. It gave them field position and they were able to pull away in the second half."
Junior Jack Difino tied the game at 7-7 on a fumble recovery that he turned into a touchdown. Another turnover forced by the defense set up the second score, a 26-yard touchdown pass from Drake Pusateri to Joey Moore, that pulled the Rams with 16-14.
Lake Park's second-half outburst led to its first win in the DuPage Valley Conference since joining the league at the beginning of the school year. The Rams, now 2-6 on the season, head into their final football game in the DVC tonight. East will join the Upstate Eight in the 2014-2015 school year.
The Rams have a young team that features a number of sophomores and juniors in key spots. Pusateri has made eight starts as a junior quarterback, and, according to Walters, eclipsed where his predecessor, Joe Kotch, was his junior year.
"That's a positive because Joe had a huge senior year for us," Walters said.
Pusateri's top two targets, Alex Ciszewski and Moore, will also be back along with the team's best two linemen, Ben Sullivan and Chris Ryan.
Walters is hoping the baptism by fire for his younger players will pay off next year. In addition, the Rams' sophomore team has a 6-2 record, including a 4-2 record in the DVC with wins over Glenbard North and Naperville North.
This is Walters' third year, meaning he was already in charge before these sophomores were at the school.
"That's very exciting," he said. "I think the system is starting to take hold."
Lake Park 37, Glenbard East 14
Passing: Drake Pusateri 7-for-27, 79 yards, TD
Rushing: Omar Ayesh 9-51; Dominic Wilberton 7-20; Pusateri 12-20;
Receiving: Joey Moore 3-36, TD; Alex Ciszewski 1-21; Wilberton 1-15
Week 9: Glenbard East vs. Wheaton Warrenville South
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: 1014 S. Main St., Lombard
Records: Glenbard East 2-6 (1-5 DVC), Wheaton Warrenville South 6-2 (4-2 DVC)
Outlook: The Rams get to play at home for the season finale. It will come against a strong Wheaton Warrenville South team. East has scored a combined 35 points in its five-game losing streak while giving up an average of 44.8 points during that stretch.