Shorthanded WW South routs Naperville North

Stan Goff – Daily Herald – Article updated: 10/10/2014 11:49 PM

No quarterback. No running back. No problem.

In a must-win situation, Wheaton Warrenville South found itself playing at Naperville North on Friday night without the services of starting quarterback Josh Prueter and running back Mike Campos, though Campos did get a few snaps at receiver.

But no worries. Senior wide receiver Keishawn Watson picked up plenty of the slack and was aided by a stout defense and a strong effort by the offensive line as the Tigers (3-4, 2-1 DuPage Valley Conference) kept alive their playoff hopes with a 41-0 defeat of the Huskies. With the loss the hosts dropped to 2-5, 0-3 in the DVC, and will be left out of the playoffs for the first time since 1996.

Watson, a wide receiver committed to play at Western Michigan next year, opened the scoring with a 20-yard touchdown on a reverse in the first quarter and later threw a 36-yard TD pass to Campos on a double-pass play for a 21-0 lead late in the first half.  

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Watson said Friday’s effort gives the Tigers plenty of confidence heading into two more must-win games against Glenbard North and Naperville Central.

“We have to play with some confidence, and losing those first two games confidence was pretty low,” he said. “But once we get our confidence, 41-0 can happen every day.”

With Prueter out after suffering concussion symptoms this week after hitting his head on the turf last Friday, Michael Stebbins stepped in to start. He completed 8 of 12 passes for 85 yards and got plenty of help from Watson and running back Jonathan Johnson, who ran for 146 yards and 3 scores in his second start of the year.

“Credit our kids for hanging in there,” Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch said. “I think the player of the game for us was Keishawn Watson.

“The reverses, the counters … he was a part of every play. We put a lot of weight on him. He’s a Division I athlete, and he showed it tonight.”

Watson had 6 catches for 80 yards, rushed for 32 more yards and had the nice TD toss that gave the visitors a 3-touchdown cushion heading into halftime.

But Johnson came up big as well, scoring on runs of 3, 1 and 38 yards. The senior back is hoping his team has a couple more big efforts that can lead to a playoff berth.

“Confidence. Everybody has confidence now,” Johnson said. “We feel like we can beat the next two teams and get to the playoffs. It’s Tiger football. If we do our job we believe we can win.”

For the Huskies, it was not a night to remember. The offense totaled just 39 yards in the first half and 140 for the night. The defense, meanwhile, wore down as the night went on and the program was on the wrong side of a blowout score, something that has not happened very often over the years.

“They’re better than us,” Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said. “We didn’t play very well. That’s the disheartening thing. Our kids have played hard all year long for the most part. When you’re playing a good program and you don’t play hard they’re going to take it to you.”