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Naperville C. turns tables on Neuqua Valley

Friday night's game at Neuqua Valley had been on the minds of the Naperville Central football team for a long time.

"We were talking about this before the season. This game was big," said senior Chris Bern.

And for good reason.

The Redhawks had not beaten Neuqua Valley since 2018. That changed Friday night as Central walked off the field with the trophy awarded to the winner of the contest thanks to a 21-7 victory that put the team in sole possession of first place in the DuPage Valley Conference.

Central (4-1 overall, 2-0 in the DVC) got to work right away with its first touchdown just 2:25 into the game. It was set up by Logan Ellison's interception at the Neuqua 25 and he returned it to the 5.

The Redhawks took possession and two plays later quarterback Jack Cook scored on a 1-yard keeper. Ellison kicked the first of three extra points on the night.

There was plenty of action as the first half was wrapping up. Cook scored his second TD of the contest, a 12-yard keeper that saw him fight through a crowd of defenders into the end zone. Passes to Bern and Logan Devick moved the drive along.

Neuqua (2-3, 1-1) got a much needed spark on their next drive as quarterback Kiet Truong threw a picture perfect 55-yard scoring pass to Carter Stare to put the Wildcats on the scoreboard.

Central though responded immediately as Cook threw to Bern for his second touchdown of the contest and it was a 21-7 halftime score.

Bern's role took a different turn as Cook took a hard hit from a Neuqua defender and walked off wobbly. He would be done for the evening.

"I am all good. I got hit in the back of the ribs," Cook said after the game. "Chris Bern practiced all week to prepare for a situation like this."

Quarterback was definitely a new position for Bern.

"I had never played quarterback before. Jack was probably fine at the end, but they kept me in. It was great," he said.

The Redhawks go from one big game to another. They take on Naperville North on Friday at North Central College.

"It will definitely be a challenge and it's will big," Bern said.