Wheaton North celebrated its homecoming in victorious style Friday night, defeating DuPage Valley Conference rival West Aurora 41-28 behind outstanding special teams play, a great kicking performance from Lake Bachar, and two touchdowns each from quarterback John Peltz and running back Patrick Sharp.
West Aurora (1-5, 0-4) started out the game strong, Cole Childs scoring on a 24-yard pass from quarterback Quintez Jones, capping off a two-minute, 80-yard drive. Little did West Aurora know it would not score again until almost three minutes were left in the game.
In between Wheaton North (6-0, 3-0) scored 41 unanswered points, building up a 41-7 lead.
Wheaton North was helped by two blocked punts, which led to two touchdowns and outstanding field position the entire game caused by long kickoffs by Bachar. Bachar also added the excitement for the night by kicking field goals of 38 and 47 yards.
West Aurora then came to life in the last three minutes of the game. Down 41-7, Jones connected on a 63-yard touchdown pass with receiver Cole Childs. Two successful onside kicks led to two more touchdowns and, with less than a minute left in the game, West Aurora was suddenly down by less than two touchdowns, 41-28.
Falcons coach Joe Wardynski was not pleased.
"Our kids were too passive," Wardynski said. "They let West Aurora come down and make a play on the ball. We waited back and let it go 10 yards and we should have gone up and fielded it. That's on us, we have to do a better job on that. We need to coach our kids better to handle those situations better."
The next onside kick was recovered by Wheaton North, allowing the Falcons to run out the clock and secure the victory.
"They have some great players and they can make some great plays and they did," Wardynski said. "I felt like we had the coverages, we just didn't tackle very well. It was nice to see the offense put some nice drives and we extended a lead."
"Wheaton North is a great football team," said West Aurora coach Nate Elmer. "We came out with a lot of emotion, but you cannot get into third-and-longs and you cannot make mistakes on special teams and we did both of those things and that's really why we lost the football game. But I'm really proud with how our kids didn't quit tonight."