ORLAND PARK – None of the numbers were in Joliet West’s favor on Friday, starting with the score, with Sandburg winning, 35-14.
The Eagles (6-1, 5-0 in the SouthWest Suburban Blue) overwhelmed the Tigers (3-4, 1-4) in yardage (408-140) and time of possession. West also committed four turnovers.
But with all that, the Tigers still have a shot at the playoffs. At least publicly, coach Jason Aubry saw that as the silver lining to the night’s effort.
“We’re going to figure some things out, have a game plan and go with it,” Aubry said.
Stopping offenses that mix running and passing effectively is likely first on his list, with moving the ball a close second.
Sandburg’s Pat Brucki ran for three first-half touchdowns, scoring from 3, 5 and 24 yards to boost the Eagles to a 35-point halftime lead. Jordon Woods’ 31-yard run and a 62-yard pass from Alec Fidan to wide-open Avery Verble also helped the Eagles.
Freshman quarterback Jaxon Aubry, Jason’s son, couldn’t get the job done under continual pressure, but at 35-0, the Tigers went to the run against Sandburg’s second string, and Juwaun McBee piled up 66 yards and two touchdowns on 10 second-half carries.
“We ran the ball pretty decent in the second half. We’ve got some things we can build on. We’ve just got to be better,” Aubry said. “It was better we moved the ball and everything. It’s all on us and our kids know it. They’ll take the blame.”
West’s two-part, two-week mission is clear: Beat Stagg next week and Lockport the following week, then wait to see if 5-4 is good enough for the playoffs.
McBee ran with brio, gaining all 54 yards on the six-play sortie that culminated in his 3-yard plunge to avert the shutout in a game where a running clock loomed for the first 14 minutes of the second half. McBee scored from the 1 to make it 35-14 with 6:32 to play.
“Coach Aubry’s son has been doing a really nice job, but he’s a freshman,” Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal said. “[Alex] Tibble, he was their guy who really hurt us last year.”
The Eagles raced to a 21-0 lead after 7:36 and nearly forced a running clock by halftime.
As impressive as Sandburg’s offense was, piling up 315 yards in just 17:09, its defense was even better, holding West to 31 yards, and a minus-29 aggregate on the ground.
The Tigers ran 11 times in the opening half, and only five carries gained yardage. Quarterback Aubry, harried from the start, was sacked twice, fumbling the second time, and picked off while going 8 for 13 in the 6:51 that West had the ball.
Sandburg controlled the sophomore game, 30-6.