Dre Thomas has a good view of Glenbard West teammate Alec Pierce's aerial abilities.
It's rarefied air.
"Alec has a 40-inch vertical leap," said Thomas, the Hilltoppers' halfback, of his team's senior receiver. "If we have him on the goal line against shorter guys, I expect him to make plays all day."
Pierce, all 6-foot-3 of him, indeed put on a pass-catching show Saturday.
On a steamy afternoon from the banks of Lake Ellyn Pierce caught two touchdown passes from Alex Hollensbe. Thomas got in on the act with three touchdown runs, and Glenbard West rolled past York 50-3 in the West Suburban Silver.
Pierce's two scores, from 28 and 36 yards out, opened up what was a 6-3 Hilltoppers' lead after a quarter.
"They rolled up and pressed me. With my speed and size I can get by them," Pierce said. "Try to get the safety over the top. If we run play-action that should hold them. It's a win all day."
Pierce caught seven touchdowns as a junior, and is up to roughly 20 college offers. He visited Northwestern Saturday after his own game. It's easy to see why.
His two touchdowns were near carbon copies.
On the first Hollensbe lofted a high ball down the right hash, and Pierce out-jumped his man.
"If I'm wide open, he'll give it to me fast so I can run with it," Pierce said, "but if I have a smaller guy that I have to get over he'll put air on it."
Hollensbe did just that on Glenbard West's next possession, placing a deep ball over double coverage to Pierce's waiting arms up high in the front right corner of the end zone for a 21-3 lead with 4:39 left in the half.
"That was a good ball, a really good ball," Pierce said.
Pierce ended up catching three balls for 78 yards, and intercepted a pass to boot at linebacker. Thomas ran for 80 yards and touchdowns of 11, nine and one yards, and Tyquan Cox went for 124 yards and a 45-yard touchdown in the first quarter for Glenbard West (3-1, 1-0).
KeVon Robinson ran for 37 yards and Josiah Scott 36 for York (0-4, 0-2), which briefly had an opportunity at an early lead.
The Dukes got the ball at the Glenbard West 40, trailing 6-0, after tipping a punt. But they had to settle for John Sopko's 26-yard field goal.
Glenbard West got its offense cranking after that, and York struggled to keep up.
"We moved the ball real well at the beginning, but we stalled on a couple drives and they took over," York coach Matt Monken said. "I felt like we kind of ran out of steam and they did not."
The Dukes are in the midst of a punishing stretch of games, with Lyons Township last week and Hinsdale Central coming up.
"It is what it is. That is the conference we are in," Monken said. "We have to be able to win games."
Glenbard West seemed a tad lethargic out of the gate Saturday, with temperatures nearing 90. That changed when they picked up the pace offensively.
"It's not a no-huddle, but more a burst out of first down to change the tempo a little bit," Pierce said. "We're a pretty simple offense, so we're trying to give teams a different look and a different tempo."
"We practiced it all week," Thomas said. "We realized in film that they get tired quick. We adjusted our bodies to it."
And to the heat, a built-in excuse apparently not allowed around Glenbard West.
"We don't really think about that (the heat)," Thomas said. "Our coach doesn't like when we talk about that stuff. He calls it soft if we talk about the heat.
"It was hot, really hot, but we don't talk about it."