Couldn't have asked for more from this War of 204.
Neuqua Valley beat Indian Prairie District 204 rival Waubonsie Valley 35-34 in double-overtime Friday, thrilling an overflow crowd at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in Naperville and giving the Wildcats an edge in the Upstate Eight Conference's Valley Division.
On third down from the 3-yard line in double overtime, Neuqua quarterback Dylan Andrew's hit Mike Dudek in the right flat for a touchdown. Ryan Mulhern's kick gave the Wildcats a 35-28 lead.
Waubonsie took over. Two carries by Austin Guido sent the Warriors to the 1-yard line, where quarterback Dylan Warden sneaked in to pull within a point. Coach Paul Murphy called his boys to the sideline to discuss, then sent them back for a 2-point conversion and the win.
Miscommunication ruined the same option play Guido had scored on in the first overtime. Warden, bumped from behind by a teammate, fell short.
"Somebody had to go for two," Murphy said. "We had the right play, we just didn't execute it."
"It was a big game," said Andrew, 13-of-24 passing for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. "We started out a little slow, we started out a little sloppy. We were kind of beating ourselves up. But then we came along, we executed when it mattered. It just feels great to get a win against a team that is our rival."
Neuqua Valley (7-0, 4-0) never led until Dudek's game-winning catch. Waubonsie Valley (6-1, 3-1) looked to be in good shape when Troy Fumagalli caught his second touchdown pass from Warden with 3:20 left in regulation. Victor Carbajal's kick gave the Warriors a 21-14 lead.
Neuqua's Joey Rhattigan -- who ran for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns in regulation, 1 in overtime -- returned the ensuing kick 28 yards to the Warriors' 49, and coach Bill Ellinghaus' Wildcats made it to the 30. Waubonsie pressured, and on fourth-and-11 from the 31 Andrew found tight end Ryan Kuhl all alone in the end zone for a shocking touchdown with 1:36 left.
"The cornerback bit on one of our other receivers, the middle one (Dudek), and I went straight around it," Kuhl said. "It just means a huge win for us."
It also means, as Murphy said, Waubonsie will learn from its mistakes. The Warriors turned the ball over on Neuqua's 28-yard line, on the Wildcats' 10 and on the 50, squandering Guido's 250 yards rushing.
"This is tough losing to these guys in overtime," said Guido, a senior tailback. "Last year we went overtime with them and we beat them (27-21) and this year it was just tough to lose to them."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.