Wolves Outshine Spartans at Homecoming Game

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By George Panoutsos

The Niles West Wolves took on The Glenbrook North Spartans at home Friday, Sept. 20, with a packed house and sea of red in the crowd. They didn’t disappoint their ecstatic crowd as they brought home a 31-23 victory.

The Wolves won the coin toss and got to business right away with 3 great rushes, working their way down field. Glenbrook North eventually forced them to punt, however. GBN received the ball on their own 30-yard line. With 9:07 left in the 1st quarter, West recovered a fumble on the 35-yard line. With two first downs and 7:13 left on the quarter, junior Brandon Costantino ran the ball in for a touchdown and gave The Wolves an early lead. The extra point was good, and The Wolves were off to a 7-0 lead.

GBN returned the kick for a short gain. After a few Spartan drives the Wolves forced another turnover to regain the ball on their own 40. But, on the first drive, GBN  pried the ball loose and ran the ball back for a touchdown and extra point. The first quarter ended with both teams neck and neck, tied 7-7.

The second quarter began with the ball in West’s hands. At this point, junior quarterback  Tommy Galanopoulos had some key rushes and a big pass for a completion, but was stripped free  by The Spartans defense on their own 2 yard line. GBN worked their way 98 yards down field for a touchdown and extra point with 7:57 left in the half to take a 14-7 lead . The Wolves didn’t lose their composure, however.

Senior Andrew Mihulet scored a touchdown tying the game at 14-14 just two minutes later. For the next two minutes, each team had a turnover, but GBN failed to capitalize on theirs. The Wolves had the ball and were looking to strike again with only 3:00 left before halftime. Coming up big once again,  Galanopoulos hit Mihulet with a sweet touchdown pass with 2:40 left in the half. The first half ended with the Wolves in the lead 21-4.

The marching band, pommers and cheerleaders all performed for the halftime show.

The third quarter began slowly until Niles West kicker, senior Filip Dominski, hit a field goal making the score 24-14 Wolves. GBN responded shortly with a field goal of their own, making the score 24-17 with the Wolves still in the lead. With 10.6 seconds left, the GBN defense intercepted the ball and ran it back for a touchdown, making the score 24-23.

Junior Adam Pignato came up clutch and blocked the extra point, preventing the game from being tied. The Wolves seized the momentum as junior Quran Spillman returned the ball 90 yards for a touchdown. After another Dominski extra point, the Wolves headed into the final scorer ahead 31-23

The fourth quarter began with a GBN punt and a Wolves turnover. With 5:32 left in the game, Niles West sacked the Spartans’ quarterback and forced a fumble. A GBN lineman pounced on the ball, but it came at a cost: the ball was now on their own 5 yard line. The Spartans were forced to punt the ball, but quickly intercepted the ball on defense. With 2:00 left in the game, they efficiently moved down field . After GBN went for a deep pass, Mihulet made a timely interception with 1:11 left in the game. Niles West ran out the clock and ensure the 2013 Homecoming game win with a final score of 31-23.

“This win feels really good to have,” said junior center Brian Stranz,  “and I felt like we played a good game all the way through.”