Metea Valley coach Ben Kleinhans called it his "worst nightmare." Neuqua Valley made it come true.
The visiting Wildcats enjoyed the big start Kleinhans feared, leading 35-0 after a quarter. Neuqua went on win 59-32 in the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division, setting up next week's showdown with Waubonsie Valley, also 6-0, 3-0.
"It's what they've been doing all year," said Kleinhans, whose Mustangs (1-5, 0-4) lost their playoff eligibility Friday. "We really tried to focus on not letting that happen and it did. It was just too big a hole for us to climb out of."
Neuqua Valley scored four times in the first 6:37, needing no more than four plays on any one possession and all but one starting inside Metea's 35-yard line.
Joey Rhattigan, who ran 8 times for 122 yards and tied Bobby Herzberger's three-year-old program record with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 2:10 left to play, scored on a 34-yard run just 1:17 into the game.
Two snaps later Metea lost the ball on a wide shotgun snap, Neuqua's Brian Stevenson recovering at the 3-yard line. Rhattigan bulled up the gut to score.
"We came out fast," said Wildcats coach Bill Ellinghaus. "We wanted to match their emotion being at their place, and I felt like the kids really came out and played hard and fast and physical."
Shortly after Godfrey Collins made the first of 5 sacks on Metea quarterback Blaise Bell, Wildcats quarterback Dylan Andrew hit Mike Dudek on a 56-yard touchdown pass.
Another lost Metea fumble led to Iby Amedu's 13-yard touchdown run, and Dudek later made it 35-0 on a 59-yard pass play. Dudek caught 3 passes for 146 yards.
"We were definitely real fired up," said Dudek, whose 4.40 speed beat coverage.
Defensive end Tyler Speich produced 3 sacks, nose tackle Michael Casas another.
"It's not just one guy making plays, it's everyone," Speich said. "That's how we get it done."
After Neuqua's Ryan Mulhern kicked his sixth straight extra point for a 42-0 lead at 4:07 of the second quarter -- Mulhern went 8-for-8 plus a 32-yard field goal -- Metea dented the scoreboard on Cam Wilcox's 24-yard touchdown run. He later added a 71-yard touchdown scamper and finished with 135 yards.
Bell, a junior transfer out of Houston, kept at it, 21-of-35 passing for 305 yards. Alex Hagemaster caught 6 passes for 129 yards, Blaze Miller 9 passes for 108 yards. Both Peyton Mitchell and Taylor Lyons caught touchdown passes.
"We got down 35-nothing, but I don't think it really fazed us because our motto is that we're never out of the fight. We've shown that really all season," Bell said.