Here we are, Week 9 of Football Friday for the 2019 regular season. The beginning of a playoff run for some and the end of an era for others. Let’s get to the highlights.
We begin with one of the biggest matchups in the state. Naperville Central, winners of two straight needs a win to clinch a playoff berth. Standing in the way is the winningest program in IHSA history, the undefeated Flyers of East St Louis.
East St. Louis at Naperville Central
The Flyers as usual get off to a fast start, electric QB Tyler Macon takes it himself and slips through the defense for a 16 yard touchdown to start off the scoring. East St. Louis jumps out to a 20-0 lead.
Central catches a break just before halftime, getting an untimed down thanks to a roughing the passer and the Redhawks take advantage. Sam Jackson with the hail mary into the arms of senior Jadon Thompson. Central down 28-14 at halftime.
There is really no proper way to describe this play except to say that Sam Jackson is a special athlete. He bobs and weaves through the defense from one side of the field to the other, and just like that. The Redhawks are right back in the game, 28-21 early in the third.
But simply too much Flyers offense, Tyler Macon and running back Damonta Witherspoon with big plays all night. East St. Louis stays a perfect 9-0 while Naperville Central sees its season come to an end with a 4-5 record.
Naperville North at Waubonsie Valley
Over to Waubonsie Valley for a game with no playoff implications, but huge emotional ones as Warriors head coach Paul Murphy mans the sidelines for the final time in the green and gold. Naperville North looks for the season sweep after defeating WV in a thriller back in week 5.
Warriors up 8-7 in the first quarter when senior QB Ethan Nelson keeps it for himself and maneuvers through the Huskie D for the touchdown run. WV goes up 15-7.
In the 2nd quarter, Anthony Gabrione finds Matt Maschmeier over the middle and the senior flat out turns on the jets. He’s gone from 73 yards out. North down just 15-14.
Next drive for the Warriors, the offense with some nice misdirection as Nelson hits Ryan Mutz in the flat, and Mutz gets into the end zone to extend the lead.
Midway through the 4th quarter, Waubonsie looks to put the game away, Ethan Nelson finds Elijah Lee for a great diving snag. The Warriors celebrate a big send off victory for Coach Murphy as the Warriors end the year 4-5 after a two game winning streak.
Neuqua Valley at Metea Valley
Neuqua Valley has already won the Dupage Valley Conference title and won at Metea Valley just two weeks ago, but the Wildcats would like a win to improve their playoff seeding against the upset minded Mustangs.
First offensive play of the game, Mark Gronowski drops back and finds Patrick Hoffman behind the defense, 63 yards. 7-0 Wildcats after 1.
End of the half, Gronowski caps off a very efficient performance with his third TD of the night, 28-0 Neuqua after this touchdown pass to Carter Sessa.
In the third quarter, CJ Wilcox breaks through the middle for his 17th touchdown of the season. A great season and great career for the Mustang senior.
Despite the deficit, a nice end of the season for senior Austin Frederick. The tight end takes the direct snap and follows his brother’s block into the end zone. The Mustangs are fired up for their captain. Neuqua Valley improves to 8-1 after the 41-20 victory.
Nazareth at Benet Academy
Benet Academy hosting undefeated Nazareth Academy and star quarterback JJ McCarthy for a Saturday morning kickoff. The Redwings would like to snap a two game skid before the playoffs begin next week.
The Benet defense shows up to play in the first half, JJ McCarthy just kinda lobs a pass up for grabs and Marty Garvin is the one to grab it for the Redwings.
The high powered Roadrunners can’t be contained for long, after just a 7-0 lead at halftime, a trio of quick strikes, two for them from McCarthy to Tyler Morris, put Nazareth on top 27-0 by the end of the third quarter.
Benet gets on the board in the 4th on a 21 yard touchdown run from Nick Johnson, but the comeback would stall there as Benet ends the year with three straight losses against some of the state’s best competition.
Standings and Schedules
The ESCC Standings ends with Nazareth on top at a perfect 9-0 after having their only loss back in week 1 overturned. Benet will make the 7A playoffs at 6-3 while St. Laurence will be in the 6A playoffs at 5-4.
The DVC Standings don’t move from a week ago as Neuqua Valley stays perfect in conference play. The Wildcats and Dekalb are the only teams to move on to the post season. The Barbs will play at Prospect to open the Class 7A playoffs.
Moving on to the First Round playoff schedule. Benet Academy Football will be on the road in week one against a familiar foe for team in this area, Glenbard North. Neuqua Valley took down the Panthers back in week 1.
In class 8A, Neuqua Valley will get a home game as the 11 seed. The Wildcats will host Conant. There was one team to get into the 8A playoffs with a 4-5 record, but unfortunately it was Joliet West and not Waubonsie Valley or Naperville Central. The playoff dates and times will be officially announced on Monday afternoon.
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