Preview: Varsity football takes on Glenbard East in playoffs


Rori Locke

Senior quarterback Gavin Dooley scrambles against Plainfield North. Dooley and Minooka will take on Glenbard East in the first round of the class 8A IHSA playoffs.

Bryce Parker, Sports Editor

The hometown Indians will travel to Lombard for their fifth straight playoff appearance this Friday.

Last year in the playoffs, the 25th-seeded Indians upset the 8th-seeded York Dukes, 16-13. But Minooka would end up losing to the 9th-seeded Lincoln-Way East Griffins in the next round.

Now, as the 23rd seed, Minooka looks to repeat last year’s first round performance with an upset over the 10th-seeded Glenbard East Rams. 

The Rams are coming off a dominant regular season, where they had eight wins with only one loss to the undefeated South Elgin Storm. They capped it off with a blowout 41-0 win over the Bartlett Hawks.

Identical to Minooka, Glenbard East’s focal point is their defense. Head coach John Walters’ stingy defense is dominant at all three levels. Headlined by a powerful defensive line – featuring seniors Delmario Taylor, Troy Cooper, and Demontay Mack – the Rams don’t make the trenches calm for the opposing offense. 

Past the defensive line, Glenbard East’s back seven is led by junior middle linebacker Gus Winkler and senior defensive backs Raul Garcia and Kameron Mabins. Walters’ defense has produced five shutouts and only given up more than eight to South Elgin.

On the other side of the ball, the Ram’s offense is led by senior quarterback Dillon Williams, running backs junior Matt Larson and senior Dimitri Hritz, and senior wide receiver Yassin Nabil. They have averaged 33 points per game.

The Indians are led by third-year head coach Matt Harding, who is keeping his playoff streak alive. Their defense is headlined by senior middle linebacker Isaiah Dupree, and defensive backs junior Efrein Ramirez and senior Connor Christensen. They have generated 17 turnovers and have only given up 16 points per game.

On the offensive side of the ball, they have had a controlling run game led by junior running back Joey Partridge, who has 914 rushing yards on the season. And commanding the air game is senior quarterback Gavin Dooley, who has thrown for 978 yards this season. They have averaged 25 points per game.

Minooka closed out their season with a dominating final half, outsourcing their opponent 33-6. Dooley had 184 passing yards and four passing touchdowns just in the half. It would secure a much needed win over West Aurora, after they dropped nail-biting losses to Plainfield North and Yorkville the previous two weeks. 

Minooka’s first round playoff game starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28, at Glenbard East’s stadium in Lombard.