Tigers Struggle To Get On Track Against Waubonsie

October 2nd 2015 – at Waubonsie Valley HS in Aurora IL

Tribune/Beacon News article.  Quaid Gill interception seals Waubonsie Valley win over Wheaton South.

In a defensive slugfest featuring punt after punt by both Wheaton Warrenville South and Waubonsie Valley, both teams were looking for a big play to break the stalemate.

Safety Quaid Gill found himself at the right place Friday to make that big play for Waubonsie. The way the Warrior defense was playing, Gill’s third-quarter interception essentially sealed a smothering 27-0 DuPage Valley Conference victory over the Tigers.

It was a bounce-back win for Waubonsie (4-2, 4-2), which lost to Metea Valley last week. For Wheaton South (1-5, 1-5), the loss clinched a rare postseason on the sidelines.

Tailback Max Ihry had a huge night on offense and a turnover on defense to lead the Warriors. Leading 6-0 after a 56-yard punt to the Tiger 1 by Will Isdell, the Warriors couldn’t take advantage of the great field position after regaining possession. But on Wheaton South’s first play, Gill stepped into the passing lane, batted Matthew Dohse’s pass up in the air, and gained possession. He sped to the right pylon and scored on a 32-yard pick-six with 5:50 left in the third quarter. “I got a little lucky on that play,” Gill said. “Our defensive line came out and flat-out stopped the run, and we were able to stop the pass. Overall, we had a good night.”

Waubonsie Valley running back Max Ihry, 42, explodes past the Wheaton Warrenville South defense Friday night. (Jon Cunningham / Naperville Sun)
The lead was 13-0 after Gill’s TD, but it may as well have been 33-0. Waubonsie’s defensive line of Ray Braun, Jake Julian, Jake Battaglia and Jeremiah Levi stonewalled the Tiger running game.

Wheaton South’s Owen England, who gained over 100 yards against Neuqua Valley, was held to 37 yards on 15 carries against the Warriors. Aside from a 45-yard catch and run by Chan Vong on the game’s first possession, the Tigers managed only 78 yards. Until the final minutes, the Tigers did not have a first down in the second half. Two minutes after Gill’s score, Ihry sped up the middle and weaved for a 45-yard TD to add more breathing room. Ihry capped off a brilliant effort with a 54-yard fourth-quarter interception return from his linebacker position for the game’s final points.

“The ball was basically thrown right to me, and then I had a great block by Josh Dominiak,” Ihry said of his defensive TD. “At halftime, we knew we had to start the second half well, and we came out strong.”

Quaid Gill interception seals Waubonsive Valley win over Wheaton South
Waubonsie Valley tight end Charles Robinson, 88, makes a catch above Wheaton Warrenville South safety Tim Dalton. (Jon Cunningham / Naperville Sun)
Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy told his team after the game that it was the first time he could remember in his tenure that his team had two defensive touchdowns.

“Our kids had a great week of practice, they read their keys, and they tackled well,” Murphy noted. “In all of our four wins, we’ve had a good week of practice, and in our two losses, we haven’t.”

Ihry, a 6-foot, 210-pound senior, had 208 yards rushing on only 15 carries. For the first of his three TDs, he got the Warriors on the board on his team’s first play from scrimmage with a 95-yard scoring run on a pitch from Jack Connolly.

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by: Bob Reynolds is a freelance writer for The Beacon-News