After his first victory Metea Valley sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne earned a hug from a man who won plenty, his grandfather, John Thorne.
The retired Wheaton Warrenville South and North Central College coach beamed after his grandson led the Mustangs to a 36-7 DuPage Valley Conference victory over Wheaton North in Aurora.
The sophomore didn't miss a receiver after the second quarter and overall completed 15 of 19 passes for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Alonzo Taylor-Jones also had a personal-best 165 yards on 30 carries and capped the scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run.
"Ashton Creal was open on some go routes, Ben (Loutsis) was open over the middle and then Jayden Reed was open on some short stuff. He's able to break anyone down, so he's open on pretty much whatever," Payton Thorne said.
Metea Valley (1-3, 1-3) had lost its prior two games by 4 total points.
"It's a credit to the guys and the coaches for keeping everyone together," said Mustangs coach Ben Kleinhans.
"You talk about when you go through those tough times, those adverse situations, and a couple heartbreakers can kind of break you apart. But we wanted to come out as a tighter-knit group and just fight a little bit harder, scratch and claw a little bit more."
He didn't believe the Mustangs played that well in a first half they led 22-0. Part of that was because Wheaton North (2-2, 1-2) twice had first-and-goal situations, but came up empty.
"We came out and didn't execute," said Falcons coach Joe Wardynski. "We gave up big plays defensively and we had chances down in the redzone."
Creal opened the scoring on a 68-yard catch. Johnny Jones' conversion run gave Metea an 8-0 lead after one quarter.
Wheaton North answered behind quarterback Luke Anthony and running back Sam Singleton, who ran 21 times for 74 yards. The Falcons marched 19 plays but were held out on fourth-and-goal from Metea's 3-yard line.
The Falcons aided Metea again, forcing a punt then jumping offsides to award Metea a first down. Thorne immediately hit Loutsis across the middle and the track sprinter sped 52 yards for a touchdown at 4:09 of the second quarter.
"We got one high safety and Ben just cut under him and was wide open. I hit him and he did the rest from there," Payton Thorne said.
Metea took more momentum into halftime on a 61-yard touchdown pass to Creal, who finished with 4 catches for a personal-best 138 yards.
"This is only my third year playing football and my second year playing high school football, so this is great for me, a great moment," the senior receiver said.
Ryan Kriceri capped Metea's first possession of the third quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run and Sam Barton's kick made it 29-0.
Wheaton North broke the shutout on a 24-yard touchdown catch by Jack Bennett from an Anthony pass.
"We can go one of two directions from here," Wardynski said. "I'm hoping we take the high road here and put a good week of practice together again and come back next week against Lake Park."