After surviving a late scare Friday night, Metea Valley has its first three-game Upstate Eight Conference winning streak, and linebacker Colin Glowienke is mighty happy to be a part of it all.
Glowienke had a pair of sacks and a key fourth-down pass defended in the end zone as the Mustangs edged visiting South Elgin 24-21 to improve to 3-2 overall and 3-0 in the UEC Valley Division.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," the senior linebacker said. "When I look back at it, it's sort of euphoric, to say the least."
The Mustangs could not have asked for a better start, as a pair of Jay Parker touchdown runs and another one from Christian Wilcox saw the hosts take a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. But the Storm and all-conference quarterback Rob Cuda bounced back, and the Mustangs had to cover an onside kick in the final minute before the celebration could begin.
"We're trying to show everybody we're a good team," said Parker, who ran 26 times for 109 yards, including his two short TD runs in the first half. "We were fired up with the start. It was good. We started running on them and we came out fast."
The Mustangs took the opening kickoff and quickly went 67 yards on eight plays capped by Parker's 4-yard run. Blaise Bell hooked up with Bryson Oliver for 19 yards and Nick Dodson for 20 more yards on the drive.
Metea Valley then forced a Storm punt and promptly put together another scoring drove for a 14-0 lead. Wilcox finished the drive with a 4-yard scoring run and a 34-yard Bell to Peyton Mitchell pass was the big play of the drive.
Parker scored again early in the second quarter after the Mustangs took advantage of a short South Elgin punt to claim a three-touchdown lead.
"Our starts aren't where they need to be," Storm coach Pat Pistorio said. "We have definitely got to look at that and try and fix it and clean that up."
Despite the slow start South Elgin trailed just 21-7 at the half after the first of Kyle Ware's two touchdown runs. Metea then took advantage of great field position again to increase the lead to 24-7 on a 35-yard field by Michael Sfikas in the third quarter, but then had to hang on as the Storm defense stiffened and Cuda drove his team to a pair of scores to make things interesting late.
Cuda rushed for 91 yards -- a total that would have been greater if not for four Mustangs sacks -- and passed for 168 yards, the final 27 on a scoring strike to Nick Menken that closed the gap to 24-21 with 41.4 seconds left to play.
"That quarterback is as good as it gets," Metea coach Ben Kleinhans said of Cuda. "He's special. But our defense got us some stops, and this group is getting it done. We started 0-2 and now we're 3-2 and excited going forward."