Minooka edges by Glenbard East; Palatine next


Rori Locke

Defensive tackle Ryan Susnar lines up against Plainfield North. Susnar and the rest of the Minooka team will be home against Palatine on Friday for the second round of the playoffs.

Bryce Parker, Sports Editor

In the first round of the playoffs, the Indians took on the Rams in a suspenseful matchup. After a scoreless first 19 minutes, junior Cayden Garcia pushed Glenbard East’s quarterback out of the back of the end zone for a safety, and the only score of the first half.

“It felt very good to get a win, it was a sloppy game but the defense picked us up,” junior running back Joey Partridge said. “When the defense got the safety it sort of got things going a little more for us.”

Minooka would get the first score of the second half with a 36-yard touchdown pass to junior Kam Chigi from senior Gavin Dooley to extend their lead to 9-0. But on the next drive, the Rams would answer back with a touchdown of their own. 

In the fourth, Dooley would further expand the lead with a rushing touchdown. Though Glenbard East’s defense would answer with a touchdown of their own, Minooka would secure the 16-14 win with the advantage of the first half safety and a fourth quarter interception by senior defensive back Efrein Ramirez.

Top performers in round one for the Indians were Partridge (127 rushing yards), Dooley (163 total yards, 2 total touchdowns), senior linebacker Alex Vaughn (6 tackles, 1 sack, 3 tackles for loss), and Ramirez (1 interception, 6 total tackles, and 1 tackle for loss).

In the second round, Minooka is set to face off against the 7th-seeded Palatine Pirates.

“We’re playing a solid team this week,” Partridge said. “They have some athletes and we’re going into it no different than we go into any other week. Coach Harding has preached to us about going 1-0 every week and being 1-0 at 9:30 p.m. and getting seven more days together.”

In the regular season, the Pirates finished with an 8-1 record and were MSL West conference champions. They advanced after a 31-23 win over the 26th-seeded Downers Grove South Mustangs, led by two touchdowns in the final minutes of the first half. 

“Our coaches have done a good job of looking at what Palatine is good at and trying to figure out how we can attack their offense/defense/special teams,” Minooka’s head coach Matt Harding said. “The growth our team has shown from our Week 1 loss has been tremendous, and we want to continue to perfect our craft on the field.”

Palatine head coach Corey Olson’s team is potent on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Pirates are effective in the air and on the ground. The airgame is commanded by junior quarterback Tommy Elter, who stepped up in week four after the starter went down to a season-ending leg injury. He is coming off a strong 212-yard game. 

And the ground game is headlined by junior running back Dominik Ball, an USATF All-American, who led his conference in regular season rushing yards with 965. They have produced 37 points per game.

Olson’s defense is led by a powerful line upfront, featuring top 2025 recruit Jaylen Williams and junior Phillip Rolek. They have held their opponents to an average of 15 points per game.

“It is going to be a physical game upfront and I have trust in my lineman to out-physical them,” Partridge said.

Minooka’s second round playoff game starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, at Minooka. 

“I would like to thank Indian Nation for its support this year,” Harding said. “I would like to also personally encourage everyone to come out to the game Friday, Nov. 4. Let’s pack the place.”