Losing stings and does not go away easily.
And Glenbard West (10-1) has felt that sting since losing to DuPage rival Wheaton Warrenville South (11-0), who beat them 31-24 in double overtime in the 2009 state 7A title game in Champaign.
Now, it's payback time, as the Hilltoppers are looking for revenge against the Tigers at 4 p.m. Saturday at Red Grange Field in Wheaton.
"It brings revenge," senior quarterback Daver Glawe said. "It's something we obviously had circled since Day 1 with having another shot at Wheaton South. Coach (Chad) Hetlet has us focus on each week, but said in the big picture, we will get a shot against those Tigers. It should be a fun game."
The setting this time will be the 7A state quarterfinals with seasoned veterans from both squads who participated in last year's epic contest gearing for an encore performance.
Glenbard West has seniors Nick Burrello, Justin Mesch, Jordan Walsh, Mike Laning and junior Tommy Schutt. Wheaton South's returning players are seniors Reilly O'Toole, Matt Rodgers, Caleb Bednarz, Luke Luhrsen and Sparty Chino.
The 2010 version of Wheaton South might be more difficult to beat. The state's top dog and sixth best nationally, the Tigers have won every game by 21 or more points, including playoff blowouts of 44-0 and 49-7 of Wheaton North and Benet Academy.
O'Toole is the Tigers' best player, throwing for 2,316 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and only one interception.
Wheaton South creamed opponents this season by pouring 43.7 points per game while having a stifling defense that allows 6.6 points.
Glenbard West's Glawe and senior wide receiver Mark Hiben are coming off huge performances against Lincoln-Way East Nov. 6. Glawe was 14-for-22 passing with 355 yards and five touchdowns. Hiben pulled down 12 catches for a state record 319 yards and four scores.
Hetlet said Lincoln-Way East took away the run game, so the passing game had to be utilized.
"It was an unbelievable game," Hetlet said. "They were both in sync and it was one of those days where we could take advantage of some of their mistakes…Were there some amazing plays in the passing game, sure, but our defense played great. We responded."
The defense put immense pressure on Lincoln-Way East junior quarterback Blake Winkler, sacking him numerous times and forcing Winkler to make inaccurate throws.
"They play unbelievable defense," Winkler said. "They don't let anything rattle them. They are staying strong the whole game and I wish them luck against (Wheaton South). They are a solid team overall."
Glawe said the team has been playing great after its upset Oct. 23 loss to Lyons Township, which he said was a wake up call.
"We are not invincible and at any point, we could lose," Glawe said. "We're just fighting now like every other team and no one knows when it will be over. It just puts the fight in us that we lost."
Hetlet said his players would battle during Saturday's competition.
"I hope our kids will continue to fight," Hetlet said. "They are seasoned veterans. Most of these kids played in the state championship game a year ago and they've lost two games in 35 games. They know how to win football games."