In one night Waubonsie Valley washed away a year's full of pent-up playoff football angst.
And the Warriors did it in emphatic fashion.
The No. 4 seed Warriors simply wore down No. 13 Proviso West, scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half for a resounding 38-6 win in Friday's Class 8A first-round playoff game in Aurora.
Once and for all, the slow burn of last fall's first-round flameout can be extinguished.
"The memory of that game is what has been driving us all year," said Waubonsie senior Austin Lacke, whose 42-yard interception return capped off the night's scoring. "That's been our fuel to the fire, our motivation all summer."
Dylan Warden ran in a pair of touchdowns and threw for another and Austin Guido ran for 172 yards on 33 carries and a touchdown for Waubonsie (9-1), which advances to play at Oak Park next weekend.
Oak Park, which lost to Proviso West 26-23 in Week 9, knocked off No. 5 Hinsdale Central 28-24 on Friday.
Guido's rushing total leaves him just 4 yards shy of 2,000 for the season. Don't bet on him and the Warriors overlooking Oak Park.
"Coach has been preaching to us all year not to take any opponent lightly," Guido said. "We definitely came to play tonight."
Warriors coach Paul Murphy had a specific gameplan catered for Proviso West. That included a steady diet of Guido out of the gate.
Guido carried the ball on Waubonsie's first 9 plays from scrimmage. The Warriors went with 17 straight runs before attempting a pass, a 14-play drive ending with a Guido 1-yard touchdown run starting the scoring.
"You never show all your cards in the first half," Murphy said. "I've always lived by that philosophy."
Warden answered Jamaal Payton's 6-yard touchdown run with a 1-yard keeper for a score for a 14-6 halftime lead.
It was all Warriors from then on.
Victor Carbajal booted a 25-yard field goal in the final minute of the third quarter, Warden scored from 4 yards out and hit Christian Gibbs for a 10-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.
Murphy thought his physical group could wear down Proviso West, heavy on two-way players. He proved prescient.
"We watched film of them and it was clear to us that they ran out of gas in the second half," Murphy said. "Our whole idea was to punch them in the gut, give 'em body blows. The game plan was to wear them down and beat 'em up in the fourth quarter."
Anthony Dorsey completed 11 of 29 passes for 136 yards for Proviso West (6-4). Lacke, Riley Kittridge and Trevor Hardin had sacks of the Panthers quarterback.
"We led that Neuqua game a few weeks ago and lost the lead -- that pushed us to turn it up defensively," Lacke said. "Their quarterback was good, but our plan was to keep the defensive pressure on them all night."