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STATE CHAMPS! Glenbard West 'D' stops L-W East Cold

Glenbard West 10, Lincoln-Way East 8: Henry Haeffner's first-half passing and Hayden Carlson's ferocious defense powered the Hilltoppers to a heart-stopping victory in the Class 7A state championship game Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champa

Henry Haeffner played a game of hot potato with a cold football.

Haeffner completed 10-of-13 passes for 145 yards and one touchdown in Glenbard West’s 10-8 victory over Lincoln-Way East in the Class 7A state championship football game Saturday night at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

Haeffner threw a 25-yard scoring pass to Nathan Marcus with 2:30 left in the first quarter. Hayden Lekacz added a 27-yard field goal as the Hilltoppers (14-0) extended their lead to 10-0 at halftime.

Glenbard West turned to its defense to bottle up Lincoln-Way East's Tom Fuessel as the Hilltoppers wrapped up their first state championship since 1983 and handed Lincoln-Way East (13-1) its first defeat on a 30-degree afternoon and early evening.

See a full box score for statistics and drive summaries on IHSA

Fuessel, a Northern Illinois University recruit, spent much of the game running for his life. He was harrassed into a 3-for-14 passing performance for 51 yards. And he was unable to squirt outside of the pocket in scramble situations.

Fuessel was limited to 17 yards rushing on 21 carries. He was sacked five times for losses totaling 30 yards.

"Well, he's the best player in the state of Illinois, based on the film I've watched," Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said. "I've seen some very good players. We've played against some very good players. But as far as an offensive weapon, I think he's got to be the best in the state.

"And, no, we don't change. We've been pretty good defensively. A sound defense is going to beat a great player. And those kids believe in that. They're going to play sound defense. He's going to make his plays.

"We just knew when he dropped back to pass—that's when he's the most dangerous, on his scrambles. We had to keep him in front of us and just be relentless in our pursuit and stay true in our coverage behind."

Lincoln-Way East closed to within 10-6 on a 35-yard touchdown run by Justin Corbett in the third quarter. The Griffins' defense forced three turnovers, including two second-half fumbles, and put East in position to pull out the victory in the waning moments.

Kyle Langenderfer's fumble recovery set up East with a first-and-10 on the Glenbard West 47 with 5:25 remaining. The Griffins moved to a fourth-and-10 on the 13.

Fuessel looked toward his tight end, then scrambled right. He raced toward the sideline and was rocked by Glenbard West's Hayden Carlson on a head-over-heels hit that knocked both players silly. Fuessel was stopped at the 6—3 yards short of the first down and 6 yards short of a winning touchdown.

"He's a winner—a champion," Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar said of Fuessel. "That's how he's been all year. That's how he played (against Glenbard West). Coming up 1 yard short on a play at the goal line doesn't tarnish the season. We're disappointed. It hurts (now).

"But Tom Fuessel's a champion—as well as the rest of the guys in this senior class and the rest of his teammates."

Glenbard West took over after Fuessel was stopped short with 3:35 left. The Hilltoppers ran the ball threee times. Then, Haeffner purposely ran out of the back of the end zone and took a safety.

The Hilltoppers kicked the ball back to Lincoln-Way East clinging to a 10-8 lead. Lekacz's kick went out of bounds and the ball was spotted on the Hilltopper 45 with 23 seconds left.

Fuessel threw two incomplete passes and was sacked and knocked out of the game by Marcus. The game ended with Fuessel's cousin, Brett, taking the final snap for the Griffins. He was flushed from the pocket and pulled down by Glenbard West's Ruben Dunbar after a 2-yard gain.

"Heartache and disappointment are part of athletics," Zvonar said. "But the sun's going to come up tomorrow. God still loves us. And I think my wife and kids will too. These guys are champions. And we love them."

Mary Ann Lopez November 25, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Congratulations to the Glenbard West Hilltoppers 7A State Champions!
Susan Prater Measures '61 November 25, 2012 at 01:10 PM
The Glenbard alums across the entire United States are proud and happy for the team and the students! Way to go Hilltoppers!
Brad Rosley, CFP® November 25, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Haeffner & Dunbar had the games of their life! Great defensive game plan!
J. Burket November 25, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Tom Fuessel actually didn't get up for more after Carlson pasted him with 3:30 left. His cousin, Brett, same last name and number 19 . . . which looks like an 18, took the snaps in the last LWE "drive."
Paul Sivak November 26, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Congrats to the GE WEST HILLTOPPERS!!!!
J. Burket November 26, 2012 at 04:45 PM
One of the trainers had told me that they switched the QB in the last drive. Just watched the tape. They did NOT. That's crazy, yo. That kid got splattered a half dozen times. His cousin was only in on the last play of the game.

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