Waubonsie Valley does the job against Libertyville
It was an ugly win, Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy said, but the Warriors certainly will take it.
Waubonsie Valley beat nonconference foe Libertyville 15-6 in Aurora to improve to 2-0 on the season, a fact the players celebrated on the field after it was over.
"You play as a team. You do your one job, and everybody does their one job, and you attack them. You attack their weakness and whatever happens, happens," said Waubonsie Valley quarterback Jack Drow.
Midway through the third quarter the senior's quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1 from the Libertyville 6-yard line gained a first down. Bryce Logan, who ran 21 times for 159 yards, took it from there for the final 15-6 margin with 5 minutes, 10 seconds left in the third quarter. That capped an 11-play, 61-yard drive.
The game took an early, terrible turn on Libertyville's first offensive possession when two Waubonsie defenders converged on Wildcats quarterback Blake Ellingson as he released a pass downfield.
Waubonsie got flagged for a personal foul but Libertyville (0-2) could take little solace as Ellingson had to be helped from the field, favoring a leg. In Libertyville's Week 1 loss, Ellingson had thrown for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Borrowing from hockey lexicon, Libertyville coach Mike Jones called it a "lower-body injury." Tom Monken, the son of former Vernon Hills football coach Tony Monken, came in to replace Ellingson.
"It is hard, but two times we were in the red zone and we fumbled. We had opportunities, we just didn't make the most of it," Jones said.
As an example, in the first half Monken found Dylan Drumke on a 31-yard pass play to the Waubonsie Valley 4-yard line. On the next play the Wildcats fumbled and Waubonsie's Ryan Mutz recovered.
"Our defense played well for long periods of time," Jones said of players such as linebacker Ryan Damenti and lineman Aidan Holmes. "We improved from Week 1 to Week 2. Unfortunately the scoreboard didn't show it, but we improved."
The scoreboard read 0-0 after one quarter of play. Waubonsie Valley posted an 8-0 halftime lead on two Cross Holmes field goals. He limbered up with a 45-yard attempt that had plenty of leg but went just wide, then converted 24- and 38-yard attempts.
In between those kicks, Waubonsie registered a safety when a high snap of the football went through Libertyville's end zone.
The Wildcats were on to something to start the third quarter when Monken's 43-yard pass to Sean Wittenbrink set up Niko Christensen's 15-yard touchdown run to slice Waubonsie's lead to 8-6. Christensen finished with 62 yards rushing.
After Bryce Logan's touchdown, the most the Wildcats could muster was an unsuccessful 39-yard field goal attempt.
"Bryce ran his butt off, he took advantage of what we thought were weaknesses and we exploited it," Murphy said.