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It was tough to find a rhythm Friday night.
For Wheaton North's football team, though, a snail's pace was better than no pace at all.
Overcoming a sometimes sluggish outing, Wheaton North opened DuPage Valley Conference play with a 21-7 victory at Naperville North.
While the Falcons' defense bent but didn't break until a 21-0 lead narrowed in the fourth quarter, the offense struggled for consistency except for a third-quarter burst of 2 touchdowns.
Regardless, Wheaton North (3-0, 1-0) is simply happy with starting DVC play on the right foot.
"We just need to buckle down and play better going forward," said Falcons defensive back J.D. Marconi, who notched a pair of sacks. "We need to work harder and get ready for West Chicago."
Wheaton North scored on the first play of the second quarter when Clayton Thorson hit fellow quarterback Johnny Peltz for a 1-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead. That's where it stayed until the half as both teams struggled to sustain drives.
The Falcons missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt and Naperville North (1-2, 0-1) muffed the snap on a 42-yard attempt. Add in 11 combined first-half penalties and both sides were ready for a break.
"We didn't play our best game, we had mental mistakes and we'll get better," said Huskies coach Sean Drendel. "I think our defense played well for most of the game, but we gave up some big plays that hurt us. Offensively, we were inept. We shot ourselves in the foot numerous times."
Wheaton North started the second half with a 7-play, 92-yard drive capped by a 9-yard scoring pass from Peltz to Thorson that boosted the score to 14-0 after Lake Bachar's extra point.
The Falcons followed with a 90-yard drive on their next possession as Peltz finished again with a 28-yard screen pass for a touchdown to Patrick Sharp. After Peltz keyed the 92-yard drive with a 40-yard strike to Thorson, he hit Nate Annen with a 30-yard pass and Thorson with a 46-yard pass on the 92-yard drive.
Peltz completed 12 of 19 passes for 227 yards, including 5 catches for 71 yards by Thorson, who completed 6 of 8 passes for 66 yards. Peltz had 4 catches for 57 yards.
"I love sharing time with (Thorson)," Peltz said. "It's working out really well."
Trailing 21-0 early in the fourth quarter, Naperville North came to life when Kevin Nalefski blocked a punt. Three plays later Johnny Brown, who threw for 87 yards and rushed for 43, tossed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Justin Williams to put the score at 21-7.
The Huskies, outgained in total yardage 412-257, missed a chance to slice into the deficit more with four minutes left in the game when they fumbled the ball back to Wheaton North at the Falcons' 10-yard line.
"It was kind of ugly, but a lot of it was good defense," said Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski. "Both defenses made it tough out there."
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