Welcome back to week 3 of Football Friday, the road trip edition! Three of our teams spent their Friday out of state; so let’s begin with the boys playing a little closer to home.
Neuqua Valley feeling good after a 2-0 start to the year, taking on the winningest football program in IHSA history, the East St. Louis Flyers.
This game would be one of the best we’ve ever seen in 12 years of covering Naperville Football.
Let’s jump to the 2nd quarter, Flyers leading 16-14 and punting from their own 11. Receiver Juju Lovett also acts as the punter, which means that plays like this are always a possibility. The dynamic athlete takes it from his own end zone 89 yards for a touchdown! 22-14 East St. Louis leads.
After both teams trade touchdowns, 3 seconds left in the first half. Mark Gronowski with a 40 yard hail mary hauled in by Garrett Stare! Full extension on that catch as a wild first half ends with the Flyers in front 30-28.
In the third quarter, East St Louis QB Tyler Macon looks for his go to guy once again, Juju Lovett with a 43 yard touchdown. Over 270 total yards for Juju. Flyers pulling away up 44-28.
But Neuqua would not go quietly, 50 seconds to go in the 3rd, Mark Gronowski with a brilliant 41 yard run to the end zone. 44-35 Wildcats down 9.
After each team traded touchdowns again, Neuqua down by 8 with only 14 seconds to play. Gronowski finds Sean Larkin for the third time in the game! 7 total touchdowns for Gronowski! Wildcats with a chance to tie and force overtime!
The two point conversion sees Gronowski roll out, but his pass is just beyond the reach of Patrick Hoffman and East St Louis hangs on to win an instant classic 50-48.
Metea Valley with a long road trip of its own as the Mustangs made the four hour trek down I-55 to face Belleville East. The young Mustangs hope to continue their improvement against a winless Lancers team.
Trailing 7-0 when sophomore southpaw Logan Frederick places a beautiful pass from 18 yards out into the arms of fellow sophomore Jalen Johnson to tie the game at 7.
Later in the first half, Mustangs take their first lead of the season on this CJ Wilcox touchdown run. 14-10 Metea in front at the break.
After the Lancers took the lead in the 3rd quarter, CJ Wilcox continues to make plays for the Metea offense, his 2nd touchdown of the game puts MV up 21-17 heading into the 4th. 176 yards in the game for Wilcox.
4 seconds left, Mustangs still up 4, last chance for Belleville from the 28. The pass is broken up in the end zone as Metea Valley hangs on for the 21-17 victory, the first career win for new head coach John Parpet.
Benet Academy back at home for a 2nd straight week, the Redwings welcome new ESCC/CCL conference rival St. Ignatius to the Benedictine turf as both teams look to start the year a perfect 3-0.
The Rams had outscored their first two opponents 102-7, and took an early 6-0 lead in this game. But the Redwings would not be fazed.
Colin Gillespie returning from an injury last week, he takes in for the touchdown. One of two on the ground in the game for the senior.
The Benet defense forced four turnovers in the game, and threw in a blocked punt from Graham Cooney for good measure to build a 21-6 halftime lead.
Backup QB Michael O’Connor entered the game in the 2nd half and ran for a touchdown, before throwing his first career touchdown pass to…Colin Gillespie. Not something you see every day as the Redwings roll 35-6 and stay undefeated at 3-0.
Naperville North, Naperville Central and Waubonsie Valley all traveled out of state tonight and it did not go…great.
The Huskies hung close in the first half but fell to Perry High School in Ohio by a score of 35-13.
Waubonsie Valley fell for the first time this season to perennial national power Trinity in Louisville Kentucky by a score of 60-6.
Naperville Central faced another very tough Ohio team in Pickerington Central, the Redhawk offense had their best showing of the season, but Central ultimately fell 49-28.
So let’s look at the updated DVC standings, which did not change much except Metea Valley jumped right into the middle as the lone winner. Dekalb lost big to Edwardsville. We should see more movement next week with the start of conference play.
Speaking of which, it will be nothing but DVC match-ups the rest of the year for these six teams. Waubonsie Valley is on the road for the third straight week, taking on Naperville North. Naperville Central hosts Metea and Dekalb visits Neuqua Valley.
The CCL ESCC Orange Division finds Benet as the lone unbeaten team. Nazareth defeated Fenwick, while De La Salle lost to Marmion and St. Laurence lost a 34-33 thriller to Joliet Catholic.
Two inter division match-ups make up the schedule for week four with Benet Academy looking to move to 4-0 on the road at De La Salle and St. Laurence hosting Nazareth. We’ll be back next Friday with highlights from all six of our teams with the start of conference play. For Football Friday, I’m Justin Cornwell.
You can find IHSA Scores, Schedules and Standings here.