A new rivalry was born on Eola Road Friday night. Perennial state playoff team Waubonsie Valley hosted first-year varsity program Metea Valley, and surprisingly enough, it turned out to be one helluva game.
After four lead changes and two ties, the Warriors survived, 21-20, to improve to 4-1 on the season. The Mustangs, who drop to 1-4, led 20-14 until late in the third quarter when Eric Josupait scored on a one-yard option run to give Waubonsie the lead for good.
Most observers didn't expect this game to be a contest, but by all accounts, Waubonsie played well below its potential. The Warriors committed nine penalties, costing them 81 yards. They also fumbled four times, two of which were lost.
Metea, a team full of juniors, has shown it can be competitive with most teams. I can see the Mustangs being dangerous next season once they get a year's worth of experience under their belts.
Meanwhile, the kids at Waubonsie know they got away with one.
"In the end, we did enough to win," Josupait told Eddie Burns, our reporter on the scene. "We had a lot of miscues and a lot of penalties and it shows on the scoreboard. We do feel fortunate. We took them for granted and it came back to bite us. We weren't prepared."
Wheaton North 21, West Aurora 13
One team that was prepared was West Aurora, which has given unexpected challenges to Naperville North and Wheaton North the last two weeks. The Blackhawks lost 21-7 to Naperville North last week in a game that was widely expected to be a blowout. This Friday, West played Wheaton North to a 7-7 tie through the first half.
The game remained close until the end. In fact, the Blackhawks (2-3, 0-3) failed to convert two red-zone scoring opportunities in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. If they had scored on either, they could have gone for two and tried to tie the score.
I'd love to see West get over the hump and pull a major upset at some point, but it always seems like there is one play or one miscue somewhere that costs them.
In Friday's game, West's Nate Zinzer had an 82-yard touchdown reception called back for an illegal block. It was a controversial call. Blackhawks coach Buck Drach told our man on the scene, Chris Pall, that he was frustrated by the ruling.
"The official standing next to me said he only saw the end, he saw him land on his back," Drach said. "The guy coming from the back said it was an unnecessary block, a good block, but an unnecessary block. Is it unnecessary roughness or is it a block in the back? I can live with unnecessary roughness."
Ah, but they didn't call unnecessary roughness. They called a block in the back. There's no doubt the Blackhawk faithful will be unhappy with that.
West also had a turnover in its own territory early in the second half that set up a Wheaton North TD. A play here, or a play there. That's what is holding the Blackhawks back right now.
Here are the rest of the scores from around the area Friday night:
Sandwich 32, Coal City 7
Kaneland 35, Rochelle 8
Aurora Christian 29, St. Edward 22
Streamwood 34, East Aurora 8
Montini 48, Aurora Central 0
Geneva 35, St. Charles North 34
Batavia 28, St. Charles East 0
Herscher 14, Plano 8
Oswego East 28, Plainfield Central 17
Oswego 40, Plainfield East 24
Morris 19, Yorkville 0