After losing to Naperville North a year ago, the Wildcats must have thought they were suffering from a case of déjà vu trailing the 2012 matchup by two touchdowns after the first quarter.
Instead it was more a case of Veluvolu, as in running back Kendall Veluvolu, whose 87 yards and 3 touchdowns paced the Huskies to a 35-0 DuPage Valley Conference victory over West Chicago on Friday night.
"Our offensive line did a great up front blocking, and ultimately that ended up helping me out tonight," Veluvolu said. "This was definitely a must-win for us tonight, and it really helped build our confidence up. We worked hard in practice and we were really focused on playing well tonight. (West Chicago) came out and played hard, so we knew we had to play hard to get a win."
Huskies coach Sean Drendel indicated there was no way his team was looking past the Wildcats (0-5, 0-3) despite their record.
"We're at the point now that every game is a must-win," Drendel said. "I'm really excited about how we handled ourselves tonight -- getting off the bus and being ready to play right away. This team (West Chicago) is going to hit you and be very physical, and it was their Homecoming, so we knew we were going to have to be ready to play. When you're heading into the game 1-3, you can't overlook anybody, so we needed a win to give ourselves a little confidence."
Veluvolu got the Huskies (2-3, 1-2) out to a quick 7-0 lead with a 23-yard touchdown run on Naperville North's first possession of the game. Despite forcing a fumble on the Huskies' second possession, the Wildcats couldn't move the ball against a physical Huskies defense, and Veluvolu soon darted in from 27 yards out to give Naperville North an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Wildcats offense moved the ball to midfield on their next possession, but the drive stalled there and they were forced to punt. After an 8-yard carry by Sharad Crosby, Justin Williams got his first carry of the night and promptly ran it 60 yards down to the 2-yard line, where Desean Brown scored his first of two touchdowns to put the Huskies up 21-0.
Brown scored his second touchdown of the night on the Huskies' next possession from 7 yards out, and it was Veluvolu who capped the scoring with just more than a minute left when he took it in from 7 yards out for this third and final score of the evening.
Late in the third quarter and trailing 35-0 and starting from their own 11-yard line, the Wildcats offense started to move the ball. A 13-yard run by Miguel Flores got West Chicago on the right track and a short pass by quarterback Jordan Lelito that Parrish Benton took 40 yards down to the 22-yard line put the Wildcats in their best position to score of the night. But Lelito's pass into the end zone on third-and-7 was intercepted by James Doyl and Naperville North took possession at the 20.
"We had a good second half," Wildcats coach Bill Bicker said. "We went in there at halftime and just discussed that this wasn't how we wanted to build the program going forward. We had some coaches and kids upset, and I said, 'Guys, this is either going to pull us together or pull us apart,' and to their credit they came out and fought in the second half.
"We have a great group of kids here and we just ran into a team that was physically dominant tonight on both sides of the line of scrimmage. We'll get this thing going in the right direction."