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Usually if a football team puts together a 12-play scoring drive in just more than two minutes, it is considered to be operating at warp speed.
That's what Neuqua Valley did against visiting West Chicago on Friday night with one major caveat — the Wildcats needed only 12 plays and a total of 2:18 of possession time to score 5 touchdowns in the first half, gaining 247 yards in the process, while paving the way for a 39-13 Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division victory.
"We can be pretty scary at times," said quarterback Broc Rutter, the orchestrator of Neuqua's devastating offensive attack, which is averaging 45 points a game.
Neuqua's first scoring drive of the game was its most pedestrian, needing all of four plays and 69 seconds to go 60 yards, with Rutter himself sweeping 12 yards around right end for the score.
After that Neuqua (7-1, 5-0) kicked it into overdrive with 19 seconds and two plays needed to go 50 yards; one play and 10 seconds to go 42 yards; one play and 10 seconds to go 50 yards; and four plays and 30 seconds required to go 45 yards in the half's final minute.
For the half Rutter completed 7 of 8 passes for 178 yards and two scores. He also looked poised to notch a second scoring run but fumbled at the end of a 40-yard run with West Chicago's Steve Gutowski recovering the ball in the end zone.
"I feel like our kids are extremely talented this year and have big-play capability — and we made big plays tonight," said Neuqua coach Bill Ellinghaus. "Broc has done everything we've asked him to do. He's a great leader for us, another coach on the field."
For all of Neuqua's offensive pyrotechnics, though, West Chicago (0-8, 0-5) did have the early lead. After Nolan Dean's first score, West Chicago embarked on a 13-play, 89-yard excursion in a little more than seven minutes with Parrish Benton carrying the ball 8 times for 56 yards before quarterback Jordan Lelito finished the march off with a 15-yard scoring pass to sophomore Mikey Bibbs for a 7-6 lead.
"Everybody was expecting one thing, but the kids had pride and they weren't going to lay down," said West Chicago coach Bill Bicker, who referenced in his pregame speech Jacksonville's surprisingly strong performance against mighty Denver in NFL action last weekend. "We're not at a point yet where we can compete with their overall team speed, but our goal is to get there one day."
Neuqua, with a 33-7 halftime lead, rested its starting offense for the entire second half and was able to put together two drives that resulted in 27- and 37-yard field goals by Ryan Kuhl. West Chicago scored the half's only touchdown when Lelito hit twin brother Colin for a 37-yard score early in the fourth quarter.