It's been a very long time since West Aurora started a football season 3-0 -- 2002 -- virtually a lifetime for the players on this year's team.
The Blackhawks finished the opening third of the season unbeaten on Friday after a 55-6 mauling of crosstown rival East Aurora.
"The funny thing is, and maybe this is where we're at with our program, but I told the kids I was a little disappointed in their effort tonight," West Aurora coach Nate Eimer said. "We had way too many penalties. We had some new faces in this week, and we didn't execute and we got delay of game penalties and we were missing extra points. Those are things we've got to clean up."
With players like DaVion Cross and his brother DaQuan Cross, the Blackhawks (3-0, 1-0 Upstate Eight Valley) were able to move past a series of miscues to claim the comfortable victory.
"I'm glad that it's a new year and a new team and everyone's locked in," DaVion Cross said.
The first quarter was messy. The Blackhawks took the opening kickoff and drove deep into East Aurora (1-2, 0-1) territory before fumbling. DaQuan Cross recorded his first of 2 interceptions in the game on the first East Aurora play from scrimmage, and this time it took West Aurora two plays to score.
East Aurora fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but West Aurora returned the favor with a fumble two plays later.
The next series changed the course of the game. East Aurora couldn't move the ball and punted. DaVion Cross caught the ball 36 yards from the end zone, ran into traffic and started to head toward his own end zone. After a few strides, Cross switched directions, shifted gears and raced along the sideline in front of his team's bench into the end zone. With the 2-point conversion that followed, West Aurora led 14-0.
"For a second, I was thinking about cutting back," DaVion Cross said. "Then I knew I didn't have anywhere to go and the defender grabbed me. I shook my back and luckily I was still on my feet and I just ran for the touchdown."
The Blackhawks continued to roll to a 41-0 halftime lead, with DaVion Cross adding a 76-yard run as one of the highlights.
West Aurora used a number of ball carriers, and got touchdowns from five different players. In addition to DaVion Cross' pair of TDs, Nick Catalano scored twice, DaQuan cross added a rushing touchdown and a long interception return in the second half with JaQuan Buchanan and Kameron Moore also scoring for the Blackhawks.
"It's exciting," Eimer said. "The last couple of years, we've started to do a lot of things teams at West High haven't done. We talk with these guys about 'do you want to be good or do you want to be great?' Being 3-0 is exciting."
East Aurora, meanwhile, struggled to generate offense throughout the contest. The Tomcats finally broke the shutout midway through the fourth quarter when Mario Garcia caught an 11-yard pass from Andre Pearson.
"We were terrible," East Aurora coach Kurt Becker said. "We didn't play well. We had a lot of things happen to us this week and lost a lot of numbers. We haven't been good for a couple of weeks, our practices haven't been good and we've struggled with some issues in the program."
Becker said a variety of things have combined to reduce a roster of 43 players from the start of the season to 31 as the season heads toward its fourth week.
"I told the kids that there's games that we can compete in on the rest of our schedule and we can walk away with some victories," Becker said.