Combine some more defensive heroics with a little luck and Naperville North managed to hold off Wheaton-Warrenville South in the battle to escape the DuPage Valley cellar. Daily Herald article by Steve Nemeth Article: 10/24/2015.
In a game where both teams wanted to finish the year with a two-game win streak to build momentum for 2016, the visiting Huskies may not have had anything as grand as a goal line stand, but the defense was still stellar enough to make a second-quarter touchdown become a 7-6 victory. Both teams finish the year with 2-7 overall records with North 2-6 in the DVC while the Tigers end up 1-7.
Uncharacterstic seasons for both squads as 2015 marked only the third time in veteran WW South head coach Ron Muhitch’s 14-year tenure that the Tigers won’t compete in the playoffs. The Huskies failed to qualify for the second straight year in coach Sean Drendel”s six seasons. A pair of Grant Ericksen interceptions thwarted two Tiger drives and Eddie Delazi recovered a fumbled snap for North. The latter was followed by a 12-play touchdown drive featuring a trio first-down producing passes by Luke Cegeles. One of several Tiger penalties got North to the South to the 12-yard line where Eric Wright covered the remaining yards. Matt Malan’s PAT kick made it 7-0 with 3:02 left before halftime.
“It was supposed to be a run to the outside, but I saw a seam to my right and just ran through to the end zone,” Wright said of his first touchdown. “That was something I really wanted and it feels great.” “The offensive line gave me all the time in the world on that series,” Cegeles said. “Our receivers ran some great routes and Eric had a great run. This win means so much for our seniors and momentum for next year for the rest of us.” “It’s great,” Drendel agreed. “We’re playing a lot of young kids, who stepped up, but it’s especially nice for our senors. To finish with wins over Waubonsie and South, those are two tradition-rich programs.”
South’s Blaze Barista blocked a 33-yard field goal try that would have put the Huskies up 10-0. Although the Tigers were forced to punt, North got possession back on its own 11 and a fumble was recovered by Jamel Smith giving the Tigers the ball on the North one-yard line. Owen England ran in untouched with 1:41 left in the third quarter, but the Tigers’ PAT kick was no good leaving North in the lead at 7-6. “Our defense has played well consistently all year and kept us in games. Tonight they gave us the ball (at the one), otherwise maybe we don’t score,” Muhitch said. “Three times we were in the red zone in the first half and got zero points. But we’ll rebuild.”
South almost built a winning drive, but with 6:13 left a 25-yard field goal was blocked. Although the Tigers got the ball back after a punt, a fumbled snap led to lost yardage thanks to Jake Jegglie’s hustle tackle. Then a Matt Hopp sack enabled North to run out the clock.
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