Wheaton Academy adjusts, pulls away from Aurora Christian in 2nd half

A halftime adjustment was the key in Wheaton Academy's 30-7 win over Aurora Christian Friday night.

The two Chicagoland Christian Conference teams were tied at 7 at halftime.

During the break, Wheaton Academy coach Jim Johanik tweaked his offense line. The change paid off as the Warriors scored on four of their five second-half possessions to pull away from the Eagles.

With the win, Wheaton Academy and Aurora Christian are now tied for first place. Both teams are 5-1 in the conference with one league game to play.

“We changed the personnel on the offensive line, and it was the right thing to do. We moved Jermiah Johanik from guard back to center to get on their big No. 57 (Rudy Griffing) and that was the difference maker,” Johanik said. “Also, Ethan Brunner and John Huibregtse, the stars of the O-line came through.”

The visiting Warriors pulled ahead, 14-7, on their first possession of the third quarter. Six consecutive running plays put Wheaton Academy (7-1) at Aurora Christian's 38-yard line. Quarterback Brett Kasper, who completed 14 passes for 158 yards, connected with Giovanni Spinelli on a screen pass, and the junior sprinted down the right sideline for the touchdown. The pair also teamed up for the Warirors' first touchdown in the first quarter, an 18-yarder over the middle.

Spinelli (5 completions for 75 yards) agreed the offense came together in the last half of the game.

“We started a little slow on offense but then we picked up in the second half,” Spinelli said. “I think our coaches put us in a great game plan to stop this team.”

Mitchell Carik's interception of a Jalen Carter pass at the Eagles' 19-yard line set up the third Warriors' score early in the fourth quarter, a 2-yard Kasper plunge. Wheaton Academy finished off its scoring with a 32-yard Ethan Head field goal and an 11-yard Kasper pass to Ben DeHaan.

Aurora Christian (6-2) coach David Beebe sees a positive in the loss.

“We weren't on top of our game tonight. A lot of it was them but a lot of it was us,” Beebe said. “But I'm a firm believer that a tough loss can be a good thing. We took a tough loss in week two and then went on a great run. We're looking to do the same thing again.”.

An errant Warriors' punt snap set up the Eagles' first quarter touchdown. Aurora Christian recovered the ball on Wheaton Academy's 18-yard line. Carter scored four plays later on a 2-yard sweep.

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