Wheaton Academy joins ranks of eligibles
Saturday's football game went as well as it possibly could for Wheaton Academy.
On homecoming at Performance Trust Field, the Warriors intercepted 5 passes, recovered 3 fumbles and scored 7 first-half touchdowns to defeat Fenton 53-7 in West Chicago.
Bouncing the Bison from playoff consideration while earning its first Metro Suburban Blue victory, Wheaton Academy (5-3, 1-3) became playoff-eligible itself.
Entering Week 8 with 30 playoff points and the 32nd and final spot in Class 4A under the Illinois High School Association model, Wheaton Academy coach Brad Thornton isn't satisfied.
"I don't think the points that we have from some of our early-season opponents is going to be enough. So we're driving for six (wins)," he said. "Next week's an important game, and I know (4-4 St. Edward) is in the same spot."
In his first action since Week 3 due to injury, Wheaton Academy safety Harrison Taylor immediately put the Bison in a tough and recurring spot. He intercepted a pass on Fenton's first play from scrimmage and returned it 55 yards for an apparent touchdown.
"It got called back on a questionable block in the back call. But it's no biggie, our defense was wreaking havoc on the field all day today, so it was a lot of fun to be a part of," Taylor said.
Kent Harmon followed with the first of his 3 rushing touchdowns. The junior ran 6 times for 75 yards, heading 13 Warriors who combined for 232 yards rushing.
Holding Fenton to 13 yards rushing and 67 yards total, enjoying an average first-half starting field position at Fenton's 33-yard line, Wheaton Academy scored on 7 of 9 first-half possessions to force a running clock the entire second half.
"Seven offensive turnovers, there's not a team in the state that's going to be able to overcome that," said Fenton coach Mark Kos, whose club dropped to 3-5 and 1-2 in the Metro Suburban Blue.
In a brief Bison flurry down 41-0, Tyler Santagata caught a pass for 33 yards and on the next play Dylan Butts ran 30 more to score. Fenton's Jeff Andrews recovered a fumble to regain possession -- and three plays later Wheaton Academy linebacker Dimitrie Skakavac's 40-yard pick-6 provided a 47-7 halftime lead.
Targeting the perimeter, Wheaton Academy quarterback Ben Thorson threw 1 touchdown pass to Noah Jones and 2 to Mikey Alfano. Linebacker Nori Kasai recovered 2 fumbles.
"Every time you can get the ball you can have a chance to put points on the board," Thorson said. "It's always helpful and it's very nice, especially in the field position."