Wheaton North staged a spectacular second-half come-from-behind effort to defeat Fenwick 32-31 in a Class 7A second-round playoff game on Saturday night in Elmhurst.
Clayton Thorson led the Falcons with 28 completions in 47 attempts for 338 yards and 5 touchdown passes.
The Falcons trailed 31-12 at halftime but came out in the second half to score on its first two possessions. Thorson hit Jack Kirschbaum for 12 yards and Matt Biegalski for a 41-yard airmail to close the gap to 31-26.
"We did make a few adjustments at halftime," said Falcons coach Joe Wardynski. "We changed our front a little bit and tried to take away their run game. They beat us in some man coverage opportunities in the first half. Clayton Thorson got us going offensively."
Thorson drove his team downfield in the fourth quarter and planted a perfect pass to Biegalski for 13 yards and a touchdown to put the Falcons in the lead 32-31.
"In the first half it was not the best game I ever played," Thorson said. "What really set us off was our defense. They got turnovers. They gave us opportunities to play. Our receivers were catching the ball and running great routes. And Biegalski had a great game tonight. "
The Falcons couldn't do anything right in the first half. Thorson had a punt attempt blocked for a minus-36 yards that gave the Friars the football on the 11-yard line, where quarterback Gino Cavalieri tossed a pass to Ryan Smith to give the Friars a 24-6 lead.
Thorson hit Bielgaski for 7 yards and a touchdown to cut the Friars lead to 24-12 just as the first half ended and shift the momentum of the game.
"It was unbelievable," Biegalski said. "I would not want anyone else but Clayton as my quarterback. The seniors really rallied everyone. Once we started rolling we were rolling, and I was very pleased to be part of this team."
The Falcons defense shut down the Friars offense and that was the game.
"They had a quick five-play drive right down the field and got in the end zone and that was the ballgame," said Friars coach Gene Nudo. "There were too many negative yardage penalties that hurt us. We got called for things tonight that we haven't been called for all season."
The Falcons move on to play Lake Zurich in the Class 7A quarterfinals.