Neuqua Valley football is armed with a dual threat QB that can be a game changer, leaving the Wildcats poised to make a run in the DVC.
Selecting a starting quarterback is one of the major decisions that keep head coaches up at night, especially following the graduation of an All-State player like Mark Gronowski at Neuqua Valley. Wildcats coach Bill Ellinghaus had to struggle with that scenario heading into the shortened spring season, eventually tapping then sophomore Mark Mennecke for the starting role.
From the very first game, it was clear that the quarterback position was once again in great hands. The young lefty led the Wildcats to a perfect 4-0 record and continued the dual threat tradition left behind by Gronowski, making big plays game after game with his arm and his legs. The Cats also have depth at the QB spot as senior right hander RJ Cluxton showed he could make plays when called upon in the spring as well. Now, this young squad is ready to build on the spring for a full season run this fall.
Longtime starters Armani Moreno and Trey Borske have graduated, but this Neuqua offense will have no shortage of weapons. Receivers Carter Sessa, Grant Larkin and Justin Nonnenman all return after honorable mention All-Area seasons and the connection with their young quarterback will only continue to grow.
Junior Jaden McGee will take a larger role in the running game this year while Grant Larkin should see carries out of the backfield as well.
Despite the loss of Borske, the DVC Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Cole Dutkovich and Palmer Domschke provide stability for the defense. Domschke was not only the team’s leading tackler, he also handles the kicking duties.
It’s a fun start to the season as Neuqua welcomes Oswego into Barb Barrows stadium for a rare regional matchup with one of the top programs in class 7A. There have been some epic battles between the Blue and Gold and Naperville Central in recent years and with last year’s contest being canceled due to COVID, the entire state will have their eyes on that Week 5 clash.
After winning back to back DVC championships, it’s fair to say that Neuqua Valley is the team to beat in the Conference heading into the season. As usual, wether they are the hunters or the hunted, the Wildcats are ready to fight to stay on top.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.
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