Football Friday 2021 // Week 5

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We are more than halfway through the IHSA football regular season. It’s getting to be that time of year where the leaves change and teams begin to talk about the “P” word…playoffs! Let’s get into the Week 5 highlights!

Naperville Central vs. Neuqua Valley

Let’s kick right off with the marquee matchup with 3-1 Naperville Central visiting undefeated Neuqua Valley. The Wildcats return home for the first time since Week 1. The Redhawks coming off a road win over Waubonsie Valley while the Cats knocked off Naperville North to move to 4-0.

After a scoreless first three quarters, we jump to the 4th. Redhawks driving and Owen Prucha with a pass to James Jopes. It’s deflected by a Neuqua defender but Jopes hauls it in for the touchdown with five minutes to play.

The Wildcats have an answer. Mark Mennecke with a swing pass to Justin Nonnenmann who slips through the defense, down the sidelines for the game tying touchdown. This one heads to overtime!

Our first overtime contest of the year, Neuqua gets the ball first and on the first play of the extra session, Palmer Domschke takes the ball around the right side for the touchdown! Domschke adds the extra point, 14-7 Neuqua. Central with four downs from the ten yard line to respond.

And they do, Central plunges into the end zone from a yard out to send us into a second OT.

After the Redhawks kick a field goal to go up 17-14. Neuqua faces 3rd and goal and once again Palmer Domschke takes the toss and surges into the endzone for the game winning touchdown. Barb Barrows stadium goes wild after another classic contest between these two rivals. The Wildcats improve to 5-0 on the season!

Marian Catholic vs. Benet Academy

Benet Academy also returns home to Benedictine University after three straight weeks of lengthy road trips. The Redwings welcome ESCC rival Marian Catholic traveling west from Chicago Heights.

After Marian Catholic scores on the opening drive, Benet responds with a touchdown drive as Anthony Picciolini hits Michael Lawler with the screen pass for a 20 yard touchdown.

After a Marian turnover just before halftime. Picciolini throws one up to the big fella, Pierce Walsh who hauls it in. Big time play to put the Redwings up 13-7 at the break.

Benet would put this game away in the third quarter. After a Liam Johnson touchdown run, Picciolini dumps another screen pass to Michael Lawler who scores his third touchdown of the night. A great run through the defense. Redwings roll 41-7 on Homecoming night.

Naperville North vs. Dekalb

Naperville North trying to shake a three game losing streak on the road at Dekalb. Both teams in need of a victory after the Barbs fell to Metea Valley last week.

After back to back low scoring weeks, the Huskie offense came out firing in this one. Aidan Gray with a deep pass to Luke Williams who makes a fabulous catch in the end zone for the touchdown. North takes a 20-7 lead.

Just before halftime, Dekalb driving but Matthew Murphy comes unblocked and forces the fumble. Andrew Dawson scoops the ball up and sprints 75 yards for the touchdown. Naperville North with a 33-7 lead at halftime!

Talen Tate with a pair of second half touchdown to get the Barbs within 12 points. But Aidan Gray gets plenty of time from his o-line and drops a great pass into the arms of Matthew Pasteris to put the game away. Naperville North with a much needed road blowout to improve to 2-3 on the season.

Metea Valley vs. Waubonsie Valley

We end the night with the Eola Bowl, Waubonsie Valley hosting rival Metea Valley. The Mustangs winners of two straight hit the road for the first time this season believe it or not. Hopefully the four mile drive isn’t too rough on them.

Mustangs up 7-0 with just five seconds before the end of the first half, Luke Elsea with a quick pass to Tyler Helbing who makes the grab to put Waubonsie on the board. But the extra point is no good. Mustangs up 7-6 at the break.

After a Vince Wronski field goal, Metea adds to the lead as Logan Frederick and receiver Jalen Johnson play pitch and catch. The Mustangs up 17-6 heading to the 4th quarter.

In the final stanza, MV converts on 4th and 25 on a great catch from Johnny Flynn before senior running back Earl Hightower scores his second touchdown of the night. Waubonsie gets a late touchdown from Amari Spikener, but it would not be enough. Three straight victories for Metea Valley who defeats Waubonsie Valley for the first time since 2015.

Standings and Schedules

Neuqua Valley remains our lone undefeated team after Week 5, but look at who is in second place! Metea Valley, 2-0 in the DVC and within striking distance of a playoff berth. That is a first in the five years we’ve been doing Football Friday. Still plenty of time for teams to climb to the top of the standings.

It’s a jumble in the ESCC/CCL Green Division. St. Rita with three straight wins in first place. All four teams in the division are winners in Week 5.

Next week we have the annual Crosstown Classic between Naperville North and Naperville Central returning to North Central College for the first time since 2018! You will be able to see that game live on NCTV17 and at 7pm on October 1st.

Benet Academy hosts Notre Dame for a rare Thursday night matchup, looking for a second straight victory.

That will wrap up Week 5 of Naperville area high school football. Another big weekend awaits in Week 6, we’ll see you then. For Football Friday, I’m Justin Cornwell.

For more prep sports content, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!