SOUTH HOLLAND | Despite falling short of earning a playoff berth, the Thornwood football team took care of needed business against rival Thornridge with a 41-0 SouthWest Suburban Red win at home on Saturday.
It snapped a four-game losing streak.
The victory sealed the Thunderbirds' regular season overall record at 5-4 -- the first winning season for a varsity football program at Thornwood High School in 11 years. The team did not have enough playoff points to earn a postseason berth.
"It looks like we'll be short on points for the playoffs," Thornwood coach Will Milhouse said after the win and four hours before the IHSA began announcing the playoff pairings. "We're two plays away from being 7-2, and I'm glad we came out today and sent the seniors off in correct fashion."
The Thunderbirds (5-4, 3-4) blew the game open by seemingly scoring at will with 27 points in the second quarter. The four second-quarter touchdowns by receiver Chris Scott and rushers Tommy Wilson, Patrick Bolton and Raheem Gardner took a total of seven offensive plays.
A running clock was put into play after the Thunderbirds scored on their first possession of the second half. Neither team scored after that.
"Our defense has been strong all year," said Thunderbirds defensive tackle Tyshon Waller, who had two sacks and six tackles in the first half. "If we don't make the playoffs, I think I'll be sick, but I'm real proud of our first winning record in 11 years."
Wilson finished the game with a game-high 123 yards rushing. Bolton passed for 161 yards and two touchdowns in less than three quarters of play. Thornwood committed four turnovers, but forced five turnovers. Two-way player Cedric Doxy had two interceptions and scored the day's final points off a 28-yard pass from Bolton.
"My heart is going to be racing all night as we watch the playoff pairings," Doxy said. "In or not, we left it all on the field today."
The mood was much more somber on the other side of the field at the conclusion of Saturday's game. The loss closed out a winless season for the Falcons (0-9, 0-7), who made the playoffs last year.
"It's a work in progress," said coach Ty Richardson of the Falcons program. "We'll keep working. We have a whole lot of building blocks and once we get ourselves organized, we'll be alright."