ROMEOVILLE – Oliver Gibson’s return to Romeoville High School did not go as scripted.
Hinsdale South scored on all of its five first-half possessions en route to a 43-14 nonconference win against the host Spartans.
Gibson, a 1990 Romeoville graduate, made his head coaching debut Friday.
“I don’t really get into my first game, second game, because I’ve been involved with football all my life,” Gibson said. “I wish we would have put on a better show for the fans and the community. But, I hope they stick with us because these guys are going to stick with it.”
Romeoville allowed 490 yards of offense and trailed 27-0 midway through the second quarter.
“We can’t put ourselves in a hole,” Gibson said. “We’re not good enough to dig ourselves out of a hole that deep.”
That’s when the Spartans pieced together their lone scoring drive of the opening half. A fourth-down conversion from Anthony Kitchens to Bradley Gabrelcik gave Romeoville a first-and-goal at the 10-yard line.
Two plays later, a 14-play, 80-yard drive was capped off when junior running back Jordan Nettles scored from 1 yard out with 1:37 left in the half, cutting the deficit to 27-7. Nettles led the Spartans with 69 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Hinsdale South answered to take a 34-7 lead at the break and took a 40-7 lead into the fourth quarter. Kitchens’ 30-yard touchdown pass to Gavin Harwey accounted for the lone second-half score for the Spartans.
Kitchens, a 6-foot-1 senior, completed 7 of 15 passes for 108 yards. He also ran 12 times for 56 yards. Harwey caught two passes for 54 yards and Gabrelcik caught three balls for 36 yards.
“It’s a learning experience for all these guys, and we are going to address the mistakes,” Gibson said. “The mistakes are correctable, and the answers are right here.”
Hinsdale South’s Joshua King, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound defensive lineman headed to Michigan State, did not play a down.
Romeoville turned the ball over twice, both resulting in touchdowns for the opposition.
“There are positives, but we need to learn to put four quarters together,” Gibson said. “This was trial by fire against a formidable opponent. We found out a lot about ourselves tonight. Now, we have Bolingbrook. We know what that’s going to be like. We plan to bring it against Bolingbrook. There’s a lot of pride in that game.”