Bob Sakamoto, Tribune staff reporter
The question on the minds of many who follow high school football: Is fourth-ranked Hinsdale Central for real?
After the Red Devils crushed their first six opponents by an average of nearly 44 points a game, critics wondered if they were benefiting from a soft schedule.
Longtime rival Lyons, which came in with only one loss, was supposed to provide a stern West Suburban Silver test for Hinsdale Central and Illinois-bound quarterback Brad Bower.
Well, give the Devils their due as Hinsdale Central knocked off Lyons 35-14 Friday night before a Bennett Stadium overflow crowd of more than 6,000 in Western Springs.
Call this one the Brian Grzelakowski show as the 6-foot, 200-pound halfback ran through and away from the Lyons defense for 330 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. His 10-yard TD run 40 seconds before the end of the first quarter gave the visitors a 14-0 lead.
When Lyons (5-2, 2-2) closed within 14-7 on Brian Davis' 30-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, Grzelakowski responded with a 50-yard scoring run two plays later.
Bower scored on a 32-yard run and Lyons' Cliff Devroy matched that with a 1-yard run to make it 28-14 early in the fourth quarter. Lyons recovered an onside kick, then watched in frustration as quarterback Chris Farnsworth's 50-yard TD pass to Brian Davis was called back because of a penalty.
Grzelakowski put it out of reach with a 71-yard TD run with 5:44 left in the game.
"The grass was pretty wet, so instead of trying to juke around, I just ran through their players," Grzelakowski said. "I give a lot of credit to my offensive line and fullback Frank Soucek. They came out and smashed Lyons in the mouth."
Hinsdale Central coach Ken Schreiner saw it differently.
"The line blocked well, but it wasn't like there were gaping holes on every play," Schreiner said. "Brian was awesome. He gets in a rhythm, and the more carries he gets, the better he performs."
Lyons came out with a containment defense designed to limit Bower's effectiveness passing and running. But that created opportunities for his close friend and backfield mate.
Hinsdale Central (7-0, 5-0) opened the game with an 11-play drive that culminated in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Bower to Trey Koziol.
"We were certainly tested tonight," Schreiner said, noting that Lyons had two TDs nullified by penalties. "We weren't in control. All we did was basically stay ahead of them."
Copyright © 2019, Chicago Tribune