Football Neuqua Valley vs. Oswego 08.26.22

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Neuqua Valley football goes up against Oswego where the Wildcats pick up their first win of the season in blowout fashion. This highlight is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

After some postseason success last fall, the Neuqua Valley Wildcats look to start the new season on a high note against the Oswego Panthers. The Wildcats could be the most experienced team in the DVC this season with 17 returning starters, but are faced with a tough week one challenge on the road.

First Quarter

On the opening kick of the season, the Panthers try a high-arcing pooch kick that at first is recovered by Oswego. Minutes later, though, the officials deem the play illegal touching on OHS.

After a punt on the first series for Neuqua Valley football, Oswego is now set up around midfield. Panthers QB Ibarra Cruz has no time in the pocket as the Neuqua rush gets there instantly led by senior lineman Justen Crawford.

Wildcats now on offense and after forcing Oswego to jump offsides on fourth and short just a couple plays earlier, QB Mark Mennecke sells the play action to find a streaking Grant Larkin who makes the catch over two defenders and gives NVHS their first points of the season. 7-0 Neuqua Valley football.

After the touchdown, Oswego starts to drive downfield. Cruz shows off his mobility as he evades all four Wildcat linemen and throws a beauty to Michigan commit Deakon Tonielli. That sets up a field goal to make it 7-3.

Second Quarter

A couple of possessions later and now early into the second quarter, Neuqua is looking to get the offense rolling again. Mennecke finds Carter Stare on the out route and he makes a couple people miss, but the gang tackle of six Panther defenders forces a fumble, which Oswego recovers.

After the turnover, Oswego is forced to punt. The ball comes in hot as it jumps over Nicolas Lendino and falls perfectly into the hands of Carter Stare. He evades a few defenders, gets some blocks downfield and runs it all the way for the touchdown. 14-7 Neuqua.

After a three and out by the Wildcat defense, their offense is faced with a difficult task on fourth and long. Mennecke surveys the field and sees nothing, so he takes matters into his own hands on the run. He glides past a couple of Panthers before bulldozing through one more defender.

Six seconds left in the half, Mennecke tries to force one into a small window and it doesn’t work out for him. Panther Braedon Hellinger runs the INT down to the 30-yard line. Wildcats up 14 to 3 at the half.

Third Quarter

Wildcat defense forces a three and out. Now Neuqua is threatening in the red zone and once again, Mennecke makes an athletic play, scrambling to his right before throwing a back-foot dime to Carter Stare. It’s Stare’s second touchdown of the night and the Wildcats are up 21-3.

Panthers are now searching for points and perhaps their first touchdown of the season. Cruz drops back and finds a darting receiver who makes the leaping effort and it seems like he caught it for the score, but Nicolas Lendino is there to break it up at the last second.

With three minutes left in the third, running back Jaden McGee has trouble with the handoff from Mennecke, but the QB is there with the scoop and lets the athlete in him do the rest. He turns the broken play into a forty-yard gain! Wildcats still up 21-3.

After a punt by Neuqua and a failed fake punt from Oswego, the Wildcats get their first rushing touchdown of the season from McGee to make it 28-3.

Fourth Quarter

Three minutes left in the game, Cruz faces some pressure from the Neuqua front and throws a ball into double coverage. Two Wildcat defenders are there, but the interception comes from Colin Rowe. The Wildcats travel to Oswego and pick up their first win of the season in blowout fashion against the Panthers. Next week, they will host a familiar foe in Wheaton Warrenville South.

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