Football Friday 2021 // Week 9

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The final week of the 2021 Fall football season is here with Week 9. Still lots to play for in the last regular season contests including conference championships, playoff berths and pride.

Naperville North vs. Neuqua Valley

We begin Week 9 with the DVC Championship game. The undefeated Wildcats of Neuqua Valley hosting Naperville North. Neuqua defeated North 21-7 earlier in the season, but the winner of this contest will be declared conference champion!

One of the best games of the season so strap yourself in for this one. Jumping to the start of the second half, Huskies leading 21-17 at this point. Aidan Gray throws a swing pass to Ethan Robert and he is all alone. The running back sprints up field and wins the race to the end zone for a 72 yard touchdown. Naperville North takes a 28-17 lead.

But Neuqua has plenty of firepower on offense as well. Mark Mennecke to Carter Sessa who gets real skinny to split the Huskie defenders and darts into the end zone. Wildcats trail 28-25 entering the 4th quarter.

Under three minutes to go in the game, Mennecke drives his team inside the five and sneaks into the end zone to put Neuqua in front for the first time all night. 32-28 Cats.

Aidan Gray responds and has 3rd and 10 from the Neuqua 18 with under ten seconds to play. The Huskies need a touchdown to win. Gray avoids a sack and takes off. He breaks an ankle tackle at the ten and runs it in for the walk off touchdown. What a way to win the DVC title. Naperville North stuns the Wildcats 34-32.

Benet Academy vs. Nazareth

Let’s jump over to the only other Week 9 game with true playoff implications as Benet Academy travels to take on Nazareth. Both teams with identical 4-4 records, so the winner will earn playoff eligibility while the loser will see their season come to a close.

In the second quarter, Quentrell Harris takes a screen pass and outruns everybody on the defense to get the Roadrunners on the board first.

Into the second half, the Roadrunners are driving again. Logan Malachuk looks to the endzone, but John Weidenbach gets a hand on it and Jackson Bayer comes down with the interception to give the Wings hope.

But on the very next play, Nazareth forces a turnover in the end zone and recovers for a touchdown. That puts the game out of reach as the Roadrunners end Benet’s season with a 34-8 win. The Redwings finish with a record of 4-5 and miss the post season for the first time since 2011.

Metea Valley vs. Naperville Central

No it’s not deja vu, this is the exact same matchup we saw a week ago with Metea Valley visiting Naperville Central. The Redhawks won last week 41-14 to clinch a playoff berth. The 3-5 Mustangs can’t make the playoffs but a win would give the program their most victories since 2015.

In the first half it’s all Mustangs as Logan Frederick and Jalen Johnson connect for a pair of 30+ yard touchdown passes. Metea Valley gallops out to a 14-0 lead.

But the Redhawks turn to the running game to get back into this one as Tyler Dodd scores one of his three touchdowns on the night as Central takes a 17-14 halftime lead.

After Dodd’s third touchdown, Owen Prucha hits his top wide out Reggie Fleurima for a one handed touchdown snag. Naperville Central leads 31-21. James Jopes adds a touchdown catch of his own as the Redhawks offense explodes for 45 points in the final three quarters. Central picks up win number six while a much improved Metea Valley team ends the season 3-6.

Dekalb vs. Waubonsie Valley

The Warriors of Waubonsie Valley ending their season at home against Dekalb. WV took down the Barbs on the road back in Week 6 and would love to end the season with another win.

Dekalb leading 14-7 late in the first half, Waubonise returning the kickoff and check out the hidden ball trick play. Josh Sullivan ends up taking it and getting all the way down to the two yard line. Luke Elsea then connects with Tyler Helbing on the next play to tie the score at 14-14 at halftime.

In the 4th quarter, Elsea with a nice pass to Ethan Quaye to put the Warriors up by two scores. Waubonsie Valley ends the season on a high note with the first home win of the year 28-14.

Standings and Schedules

So here we have the final DVC standings after Week 9 and for the first time all year, Neuqua Valley is not at the top. Naperville North earns the conference crown with Neuqua in second, Naperville Central third and Metea Valley in 4th.

In the CCL/ESCC Green Division, St. Rita runs away with the Division with a 3-0 record, 8-2 overall. Nazareth moves into second after the win over Benet while the Redwings land in third.

Now for the big reveal, the reason Week 9 of Football Friday is being released a day later. Let’s get to the Playoff Matchups for the three post season eligible teams.

And look what we have here. The IHSA could not resist a crosstown classic in round one. Naperville North as the 16 seed will host Naperville Central the 17 seed to open the playoffs. The Huskies won 38-27 back on October 1st over at North Central College. Should be another classic between these storied programs

Neuqua Valley will look to shake off the disappointment of the team’s first loss in nearly two years against a former Upstate 8 rival, Bartlett. The 8-1 Wildcats are the #3 seed overall in class 8A only behind Loyola and South Elgin who are both undefeated.

Officials dates and times will likely be announced in the next day or so, but whenever the games are played we will be back next week for a playoff edition of Football Friday. We’ll see you then, thanks for watching. For Football Friday, I’m Justin Cornwell.

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