Earned It: A Tribute to the Hitters’ 2018 Season

The Glenbard West football team, the Hitters, concluded their 2018 season on November 3rd against Lincoln Way East on Duchon Field. The final score was 45-0 with Lincoln Way East advancing to the quarter finals. The Hitters finished 5-1 in conference and 8-3 overall. They also were part of a three-way tie for Conference Champions with Hinsdale Central and Oak Park River Forest.

Regardless of the fact that their season ended sooner than expected, the Hitters’ tradition will continue to impact the players on and off the field. This year’s seniors were able to give me some insight into what makes Glenbard West football so special.

Before we dove too far into the significance of their position, I asked the Hitters how they felt the season went. Many of the boys agreed that the end to their year was disappointing. Nonetheless, they all seemed to have gained a lot from their football careers.

Despite the difficult days, offensive lineman, Connor Foley was still “just excited to get on the field every week and play with [his] teammates.”

Center Joe Peraino adds “I woke up very excited and the excitement kept up through the whole year. I would have a hard time sleeping the night before big games but I knew I was prepared and couldn’t change anything now. I loved being on the field every day with my teammates just talking and playing the sport we all love. It was the coolest experience walking down the hill and out the tunnel ready to play.”

Wide Receiver Ethan Graff sums up the season as simply a “fun last ride with the boys.”

Indeed it was fun for everyone, but especially for the Hitters, who have become an important part of our community. Linebacker Otis Neavins says that being a Hitter is really “indescribable.” Middle Linebacker Jayden Rodgers elaborates saying that “[b]eing a Hitter is all about being a well-known hard worker on and off the field. Being a Hitter means no one out-plays you.” Connor Foley agrees, saying “[a] Hitter means to me fighting for your brothers and physically dominating other teams.”

In terms of what it means to the community, quarterback Tommy Bleker says that “[i]t means a lot because being a Hitter in this community is such a big thing and holds lots of traditions and it is something that I’ll never forget. All the younger kids look up to you and all the fans make it so much more enjoyable.”

Speaking of the community support, the Hitters want to thank the spectators and fans for supporting them on their journey. On behalf of the team, Joe Peraino says “[t]hank you to everyone who came out to watch us play. It really means a lot to see a lot of people up in the stands on game day. And to my teammates, thanks for making this an amazing year of football and an unforgettable season.”

Connor Foley agrees that “[t]he culture around this team made up by my teammates and the fans makes it so rewarding and fun and [he] really appreciates it.” In addition, Otis Neavins adds a reminder to the fans to continue to “believe the hype.”

Overall, the most impactful part of being a Hitter was the relationships the boys built with each other and their coaches. For Jayden Rodgers, “[t]he four years of high school football are the best times of [his] life and [he’s] made lifelong relationships with [his] teammates and coaches.” For Connor Foley, “it has been an amazing ride. Ten years have flew by and these past four have been unforgettable. [He] would not trade it for anything.”

For Hank Knez, “it’s been a blast and [he’s] definitely grown as a player and person getting to play under Chad Hetlet, [he] definitely would  not be the person [he is] or have the opportunities [he has] without Hitter Football.”

As for the future, Jayden, Otis, and Hank all plan to continue their football careers into college. As for the rest, they will enjoy football as a spectator and eventually hope to coach their children in their beloved sport. Regardless of the path they take or whether this was their last season on the field or not, the Hitter football spirit will forever be ingrained in this year’s seniors. The sweat, blood, and tears each of them have shed throughout the years are temporary. It will be the fighting spirits, team-based mindsets, and love of the game that will follow them wherever they are headed next. 

Congratulations seniors on all that you have achieved in your years as a Hitter – you will be duly missed. Thank you Hitters for another fantastic and accomplished season. We appreciate your dedication and commitment to bringing Glenbard West to victory each week and you have made us all Hitters fans for life. Now enjoy celebrating all that you have done this season – you’ve earned it.