Neuqua Valley football back in the IHSA 8A state playoffs for the second year in a row, hosting the Conant Cougars. Both the wildcats and the cougars lost in the first round of playoffs last year.
Opening drive for the wildcats. Senior QB Mark Gronowski makes the short pass to Patrick Hoffman and he sheds a tackle and then takes off down the sideline for 65 yards and past the goal line. Wildcats up early 7-0.
Conants QB looking to get out of the danger zone, Matt Battello scrambling and is then brought down for a safety by Nathan Williamson, Wildcats up 9-0.
Not even three minutes in to the game and Neuqua back on the offensive again. Mark Gronowski calls his own number and moves through the line and then kicks it in to high gear to make the 61 yard touchdown run. Wildcats lead 16-0 not even three minutes in to the game.
In to the second quarter, Nick Pastore ducks and covers for a nice 10 yard run that results in a field goal, cats now up 19-0.
In to the third quarter and Conant looking to get something going on offense, QB Matt Botelloe gets a big run on the option for 35 yards, Cougars in the redzone.
Little while later, still in the third quarter, fourth down for the cougars, Bottello tries the option again but the neuqua d is redy for the stop resulting in a turnover on downs.
Neuqua in a tight spot but it doesn’t last for long as Gronowski tosses the ball to Nick Pastore on the outside and he is off to the races… that is until he gets tripped up, non-the less, a 62 yard run and another wildcat first down.
1st and goal for the wildcats and Pastore would finish off his big run with an 8 yard drive to push the cats up 37-0 with 2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Cougars sticking with the option in the fourth quarter and Botello pitches it to Jeremy Carrell who gets down midfield to grab the first down for Conant.
Cougars would find pay dirt once in this playoff match, as Botello punches it in from 4 yards out but the Wildcats would walk away with the first round win and advance to play the winner of Homewood Flossmore and Curie.
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