The 2023 high school football season is flying by as we near the midway check point and dive into conference play. Several of our local teams are looking to bounce back after last minute losses a week ago. Week four of Football Friday is sponsored by BMO.
Neuqua Valley vs Naperville North
Our first game of the night features two of the top teams in the DVC in recent seasons with Neuqua Valley traveling to Naperville North. The Huskies are standing tall after a thrilling 51-49 last second win over Bolingbrook in week three, while the Wildcats are looking to right the ship after a 1-2 start to the season.
We jump into the second half with Neuqua Valley leading 3-0 thanks to an Easton Taylor field goal following a blocked punt. Jacob Bell looking for his top target in Luke Williams. It’s right on the money from 46-yards away. The first touchdown of the game puts the Huskies in front 7-3.
Later in the quarter it’s Williams making plays on both sides of the ball with the interception as the Purdue commit returns the ball all the way down to the Neuqua 22 yard line.
On the very next play, Jacob Bell rolls right and heaves one downfield. William Beamen makes an interception of his own at the seven yard line and returns it all the way to midfield.
Just before the quarter comes to an end Silvano Spatafora takes the handoff and finds paydirt from five yards out. Neuqua Valley retakes the lead 10-7 heading to the fourth quarter.
The two teams trade turnovers once again, but with just over five minutes remaining, Neuqua quarterback Ryan Mohler plunges into the end zone to put the game out of reach. The Wildcats with a huge win on the road by a 17-7 score over Naperville North.
Naperville Central vs Waubonsie Valley
Waubonsie Valley has been one of the bright spots on the season after two wins to begin 2023 and a hard fought road loss to Homewood-Flossmoor last week. During Go Gold week to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer, the Warriors host the Naperville Central Redhawks, who fell in overtime to Lockport a week ago, but look to continue their stifling defensive play.
Early in the game, Waubonsie gets the offense in gear as Luke Elsea connects with one of his favorite targets in Tyler Threat as the Warriors move into Redhawk territory.
Later in the drive, Elsea finds Julian Johnson over the middle who makes a nice catch inside the ten, but Samuel Figg knocks the ball out and Christian Kuta picks it up to keep the Warriors off the board.
To the second quarter, Redhawks knocking on the door when Jack Cook rolls to his right, waits for an opening and finds Kuta who makes the grab in the back corner of the end zone. Naperville Central with a 17 point quarter to take the three score lead.
Central continues to roll in the second half, Aiden Clark rumbles into the end zone from ten yards out to put the game away. The Redhawks continue to look strong after a 27-0 road win over Waubonsie Valley.
Benet Academy vs Montini Catholic
Benet Academy was knocked around a bit a week ago by a very strong IC Catholic team. Another tough test awaits as the Redwings travel to face conference foe Montini Catholic, who enters the game with a perfect 3-0 record.
Under 30 seconds to go in the first half, Benet leading 3-0. Montini calls a timeout to set up a third down play when Rocky Rosanova makes the interception and returns the ball into Bronco territory.
With six seconds left in the half, Ryan Kubacki Jr heaves a Hail Mary in Rosanova’s direction. The pass is broken up, but Pat Pitello makes the catch in midair after following the play! Touchdown Redwings who take a 10-0 lead into the break.
Montini trailing 10-7 in the fourth quarter. Broncos quarterback Gaetano Carbonara finds Santino Florio for the touchdown as Montini takes a 14-10 lead with just over 11 minutes remaining.
Kubacki drives Benet inside the Montini ten yard line with under five minutes left. However, the defense collapses on the sophomore and despite evading the sack initially, the ball is jarred loose and recovered by the Broncos.
Montini facing 4th and 16 with 40 seconds left in the game. Benet needs a stop to get the ball back for one final attempt, but Carbonara drops a dime to Florio from 36 yards away. Montini Catholic uses a 21-0 second half run to get past the Redwings, improving to 4-0 on the season. Benet falls to 2-2.
DeKalb vs Metea Valley
Metea Valley is back at home to kick off the DVC slate as the Mustangs host DeKalb. The Barbs have had an enigmatic start to the season, as the team looks for some consistency following a 1-2 start.
DeKalb on top 14-0 in the second quarter, but the Mustangs battle back and cut the lead in half as Hani Omar pushes his way into the end zone from a yard out as Metea trails 14-7.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Barbs kick returner Xavier Dandridge takes the ensuing kickoff 95 yards through a sea of Mustangs. In a blink, DeKalb is back on top by two scores at 20-7.
After Metea blocks the extra point, DeKalb tries a squib kick, but Mustang return man Daniel Pere scoops up the ball at the 14-yard line and bursts through a seam. He breaks a tackle at the 40 and leaves the kicker in the dust on the way to an 86-yard kickoff return touchdown. Three plays from scrimmage, three scores as DeKalb now holds a 20-14 lead.
However, the Barbs offense was a machine all night long led by Talen Tate and his three touchdown runs. This one in the second half goes for over 50 yards. DeKalb overpowers Metea Valley 48-23 in a shootout and evens its record at 2-2. The Mustangs fall to 0-4.
Standings and Schedules
This early in the season we see a lot of movement in the standings on a week to week basis. Naperville Central now stands on top of the DVC as the lone 3-1 team. However, Neuqua Valley and DeKalb are right there with the Redhawks at 1-0 in the conference and 2-2 overall. Naperville North and Waubonsie Valley are well within striking distance but need to pick up wins when they can.
In the CCL/ESCC White Division, Montini is the only undefeated team remaining. St. Laurence took down Providence Catholic by the score of 31-24 to remain in second place.
Sticking with the Catholic schools, Benet is on the road once again next week as the Redwings head to the south side to face De La Salle. Montini travels to Marian Catholic while Providence visits DePaul College Prep and St. Laurence travels to Leo.
In the DVC the premiere matchup next week has Naperville Central visiting Neuqua Valley in a clash between two of the area’s top defenses. First to 10 points might take that one. Naperville North travels to DeKalb for a key matchup while Waubonsie Valley hosts Metea Valley in the Eola Bowl.
With each passing week the stakes continue to rise, I can’t wait to see what next Friday night has in store. Thank you so much for watching, we’ll see you once again for week five! For Football Friday, I’m Justin Cornwell.
For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!