Neuqua Valley gains momentum, runs away from Waubonsie Valley
The steps forward that Neuqua Valley has taken each week were a little slow in coming on Friday night at Waubonsie Valley.
But when they arrived, there was no stopping them. The Wildcats (4-3, 3-1 DuPage Valley Conference) scored 33 points in the second half to beat the Warriors 40-12.
"The team is starting to play well," Neuqua Valley coach Bill Ellinghaus said. "We have taken a step each and every week. We started the season playing five playoff teams. We didn't win them all, but we learned from them."
Both offenses started the contest with two short drives apiece with nothing to show for them. That changed when Neuqua took over the ball with 3:51 remaining in the opening quarter. An 8-play drive ensued and was capped off with a 2-yard TD run by quarterback Ryan Mohler with 38.5 seconds left in the quarter. It was his first of three scores on the night.
For the rest of the half, both teams executed long drives both with the number of plays and the clock eaten. Neither effort saw the end zone and the score would remained unchanged at halftime.
It's never too early in the game for trick plays and the Wildcats recovered their onside kick that began the third quarter.
Neuqua took over at the Waubonsie 47, and eight plays later Silvano Spatafora hit end zone from the 6.
"We've done that before. It was a big momentum change," Spatafora said.
The Warriors (4-3, 2-2) responded quickly after that score, starting the ensuing drive on their own 31. The first play saw quarterback Luke Elsea connect with Tyler Threat on a 54-yard throw.
Four plays later, Elsea found receiver Brady Teeple in the corner of the end zone to put Waubonsie Valley on the scoreboard at 14-6.
The Warriors scored again on their next drive. Bryce Provis recovered a Neuqua fumble, which led to a 32-yard pass from Elsea to Trent Selby that made it 14-12.
"It's a big game, a rival game. We fought through the adversity and got the win," Spatafora said.
Neuqua came right back on its ensuing drive with Mohler scoring his second TD early in the final quarter on an 11-yard run.
"We stopped shooting ourselves in the foot (in the second half). We had three separate drives (in the first half) that could have been touchdowns," Mohler said.
His third and final score, on a 1-yard run, came with 7:12 remaining in the contest. The Wildcats' Nick Pape recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and it took just one play for Spatafora to score his second TD, an 18-yard run.
Later, Taylor Easton intercepted a Warriors pass and Luke Brosnan turned that into a 26-yard TD dash to close out the scoring for the night with under three minutes to play.