Vernon Hills' DaVaris Daniels was asked on Thursday to make a repeat performance. The team needed him to start at quarterback.
No problem. Daniels answered the challenge rather easily, as he produced a 5-yard TD run on the opening drive Friday night.
The Cougars followed up by running away with a 45-0 rout of visiting Niles West in the season opening in Vernon Hills.
"They asked me in class, if I wanted to start at quarterback," Daniels said. "I did it last year and started out the same way. I really didn't have much success because it was my first time. This time I was a lot more comfortable. We we're all excited and everything was flowing."
On the next two possessions, Daniels shifted to wide receiver and then into the backfield.
"I know I'll be playing receiver in college," Daniels said. "I'll play anything the (coaches) ask me to play. I'm just trying to make the plays."
The Cougars scored on their first seven possessions and rolled out to a 39-0 lead by halftime. The Vernon Hills defense held the Wolves without a first down through the first two quarters and to just 27 yards by the half.
"The leadership was there last year, but the work ethic is a little bit stronger," Daniels said. "We work and push each other. It's everybody, from the top to the bottom. We've got a lot of talent on this team and know how to use it."
Defensively, the Cougars' Austin Miller made a couple of sacks and a handful of tackles, which stopped the Wolves from running the football for the first few times Niles West had the ball.
"I was just doing my job," Miller said. "This defense is strength first and then reaction."
Vernon Hills running back Brian Palmer (13 carries, 141 yards) had an 11-yard rushing touchdown, quarterback Steve Nelson rushed for a 10-yard score and Chris Argianas scored from a yard out. Argianas also threw 2 touchdown passes, to Evan Spencer for 25 yards and Daniels for 43 yards. Spencer also scored on a 25-yard run.
"We really thought we would have a dogfight tonight," Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken said. "We thought (Niles West) would've some skilled kids out there. We didn't know what we had coming in.
"Maybe our worries are unfounded. When you're going against yourself all the time, your guys know what you're doing and you don't look so good. We came out and were ready to go with big plays early."