Not even some good-natured teasing from teammates could wipe the big smile off the face of Waubonsie Valley junior Christian Gibbs on Friday.
Even though an East Aurora lineman managed to trip up the wide receiver/return man from behind 3 yards shy of the end zone, Gibbs and his fellow Warriors still had plenty of reason to smile after a 49-0 home victory over winless East Aurora.
Gibbs' 89-yard punt return may not have ended in the end zone, but Demario Webb did score from 3 yards out on the very next play as Waubonsie Valley (7-1, 4-1) took a 35-0 lead at the half over the visiting Tomcats.
"I saw all that grass out in front of me, but I ran out of gas at the end," said Gibbs, who scooped up a bouncing punt at his own 8-yard line, cut to the outside and raced down the sideline before getting stopped just short of the end zone. "The guys were making fun of me that I got caught by a lineman, but I was gassed at the end."
That was one of two big plays by Gibbs, who also made a sliding catch on a 15-yard TD pass from Dylan Warden earlier in the quarter that gave the Warriors a 28-0 lead with 7:39 left in the first half.
After last week's heart-breaking overtime loss to Neuqua Valley in a battle of unbeatens, Waubonsie Valley came out Friday clicking on both sides of the ball.
Each team had five possessions in the first half but came away with drastically different results. The Warriors ended their five drives with five touchdowns, while East Aurora had four punts and an interception by Waubonsie Valley's Keon Dantzler.
"We had to bounce back from last week and we had to come out strong," said senior running back Austin Guido, who ended his team's first two drives with short TD runs to give him 24 scores on the year. "In the first half we scored on every possession and our defense was awesome."
The Warriors' third drive was capped off by a 15-yard rushing score by Kyle Neese.Meanwhile the defense -- even without a pair of starters -- blanked the Tomcats on the night. The coaching staff decided to rest defensive back Jeff Markham and middle linebacker Austin Lacke and save them for next week's regular-season finale with Metea Valley and the ensuing playoffs.
"We executed tonight," Warriors coach Paul Murphy said. "Coach (Kurt) Becker is doing a great job with those kids at East Aurora, and our kids went in with a lot of respect. We have more experience than them, and I'm happy to be 7-1 and now we want to get to 8-1 and improve our playoff position."