Threes were wild for the Wheaton North football tam on Friday night.
Matt Biegalski and Kellen Cleveland recorded personal bests of 3 receiving touchdowns and 3 sacks, respectively, Patrick Sharp added 3 rushing touchdowns and, most importantly, the Falcons defeated Naperville Central for the third straight season, this time by a convincing 45-0 count.
The victory sets up a showdown for the DuPage Valley Conference title next week when the 7-0 Falcons take their 5-0 DuPage Valley Conference record to Carol Stream for a winner-take-all meeting with Glenbard North (6-1, 5-0). Friday's win couldn't have been better preparation for Wheaton North as it looks to gather a second straight DVC championship. The Falcons shared the DVC title with Wheaton Warrenville South last year.
"This was the most solid game we've had, all of the defense and all of the offense," Cleveland said. "It's not every game that you can get a shutout and also put 45 points on the board."
"We want that conference title to come back to the north side," Biegalski added. "Naperville Central's a good team, but we had a great week of practice and I'm proud of our guys."
On Naperville Central's second play of the game, quarterback Jake Kolbe hit Jimmy Nashert for an 18-yard gain. That would be the Redhawks' (3-4, 3-2) longest play of the night. The longest run, an 11-yard gain with Wheaton North holding a 38-0 lead, wouldn't come until the fourth quarter. On the night Naperville Central ran 5 plays in Falcons territory and its deepest penetration was the Wheaton North 41-yard line.
"The coaches really prepared us well this week; everybody really stepped up, the DBs, the linebackers," Cleveland said. "I was just keeping it going all the time and just wanted to get to the quarterback as fast as I can."
The Wheaton North offense was just as dominant, starting with a message-sending 12-play, 72-yard drive to open the game that featured 32 yards rushing by Sharp and 5-of-5 passing by quarterback John Peltz, who capped the seven-minute march with an 11-yard toss to Biegalski.
Wheaton North scored on all four of its first-half possessions, with Lake Bachar booting a 43-yard field goal, Sharp scoring from 11 yards out and Biegalski catching a 6-yard pass from Clayton Thorson with a minute left in the half for a 24-0 lead at the break.
Any remaining wind in Naperville Central's sails was removed on Wheaton North's first snap of the second half when Sharp sprinted 58 yards to the end zone. Sharp's final TD was a 1-yard plunge set up by Biegalski's 29-yard punt return and his 26-yard catch of a Peltz throw.
Biegalski capped the evening with a 50-yard TD catch from Thorson with eight minutes to play.
While Wheaton North prepares to battle for a championship, Naperville Central's playoffs essentially start next week when the Redhawks face cross-town rival Naperville North. Coach Mike Stine knows the only chance his team will have is by putting some points on the board after being shut out the past two weeks.
"We got beat by a better team tonight," he said. "They were more prepared and came out and played harder and better then us; the best team won tonight, by far. We just have to shore things up, get back to basics and fight hard."
Tickets for the Naperville Central-Naperville North game next week will be on sale at the Naperville North in the main office and at Naperville Central in the athletic office 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to noon Friday at Naperville Central. Tickets will not be sold at North Central College until 4 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.