Neuqua Valley football goes up against Oswego in the season opener as the Wildcats hold off the Panthers for the win. This highlight is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.
We’re at Neuqua Valley High School for some Friday night lights where the powerful Panthers of Oswego pay a visit to area rival, the Wildcats. Both teams have high expectations for themselves coming into the season. The Wildcats have won the DVC in back to back seasons.
Early in the 1st quarter and Junior QB Mark Mennecke has the Wildcats clicking already…Mennecke makes a great pass to connect with Justin Nonnenmann who holds on despite a big hit. The drive ends with a Palmer Damschke field goal.
Later in the 1st quarter and Neuqua Valley football is on the attack again. This time it’s Grant Larkin taking the jet sweep 40 yards across the field to bring the Wildcats within striking distance again.
This time Neuqua Valley football finds pay dirt…but it certainly didn’t come easy. Check out this effort by Mennecke as he escapes pressure, buys time and eventually finds Carter Sessa in the back of the end zone and Neuqua leads 9-0.
2nd quarter now and Oswego is trying to stay in this one. QB Cruz Ibarra connects with Deakon Tonielli to get the Panthers inside the 10.
Oswego would finish this drive off with a TD as Jacob Sergon finds the end zone. The Panthers trail 9-7 midway through the 2nd quarter.
Neuqua forced to punt on their following drive but check out this play by Peyton Kuhl. He picks up the muffed punt cleanly and takes it back all the way…unfortunately, by rule, it will be Neuqua’s ball back where he recovered it.
A few plays later the Wildcats still make the Panthers pay. Jaden McGee takes this one right up the gut and this score extends Neuqua’s lead to 15-7 after another failed 2 point conversion
3rd qtr now and it’s more of the same from Mennecke and NV…Mennecke finds Josh Wenz wide open over the middle here but Mennecke would go down with a leg injury on this play and would have to come out of the game.
Senior RJ Cluxton comes in at QB for one play and delivers an absolute dime to Carter Sessa down the left sideline for the touchdown. What a play call by Neuqua and credit to Cluxton for being ready to make a play. 22-7 Cats.
Near the end of the third, Oswego takes advantage of a special teams miscue. Cameron Grays takes the sweep and is able to inch across the plane of the end zone to keep the Panthers in this one. Neuqua still leads 22-13 after three quarters.
4th quarter now, Oswego deep in their own territory and punting, they leave way too much room for Andre Cobb of NV as he takes the return all the way to the 10 yard line and the Wildcats are right back in control!
Grant Larkin takes the toss left and dives into the end zone and just like that Neuqua is back on top 28-13.
Trailing by 15 with under 10 minutes to play…the Panthers look to get a drive rolling. Cruz Ibarra finds RJ Cook on this pass to pick up a nice chunk. Sessa is playing both ways for the Cats after some injuries as he makes a great hit here to make the stop.
After a defensive pass interference, Cruz Ibarra takes matters into his own hands and brings the Panthers back into this one. They trail by just 8! 28-20
Oswego was able to recover the ensuing onside kick! They are right back at it with a chance to tie things up but first they need to find the endzone….and they do. A perfectly designed play catches the Wildcats off guard as Ibarra connects with Connor Deal and Oswego is down just 2!
Moment of the game so far in this one. The Panthers looking for the conversion to tie it up and Andre Cobb makes another huge play for Neuqua as he intercepts the pass to keep the Wildcats ahead by 2 points.
With the game getting too close for comfort, Mennecke takes matters into his own hands…and legs and not only coverts a huge 3rd down but also picks up 60 yards along the way! What a play by him as he gives NV the chance to put this one away.
And on the next play…they do! It’s Grant Larkin on the ground, again! Larkin finds the end zone for the second time to put the Cats up by 9. Neuqua adds a safety and starts the year 1-0 after a 37-26 win.
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