Naperville Central, Neuqua Valley even in suspended game
The winner of the battle between Neuqua Valley and Naperville Central to determine which team would strap itself into the driver's seat heading into the final two weeks of the DuPage Valley Conference season won't be known until Saturday.
After a 47-minute lighting delay at halftime, the game had resumed, but with lightning flashing and torrential rains pelting Naperville Central's campus, the decision was made to suspend the game with 3:12 left in the third quarter and the score tied 14-14. The game will resume at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Until Mother Nature interjected herself into the proceedings, it was a back-and-forth contest that saw both teams lead in the first half before going into the break with 14 points apiece. The Redhawks (4-2, 2-0) struck first on Payton Thorne's 28-yard touchdown strike to Cade McDonald on a fourth-and-9 play with five minutes left in the first quarter. The Wildcats (4-2, 1-0) answered with a scrambling Mark Gronowski hitting a wide-open Will Chevalier down the left sideline for a 58-yard score less than two minutes later.
Naperville Central appeared to be driving for a go-ahead tally until Rudy Dedeaux picked off Thorne at the Neuqua 8. Eleven plays and 77 yards later, Gronowski swept to pay dirt from 12 yards out for a 14-7 lead with five minutes left in the half. This time it was Naperville Central's turn to answer as Thorne directed his own 11-play march, with Danny Hughes capping the 80-yard drive with a 13-yard game-tying run.
Despite the heavy rain the game resumed with the Redhawks moving to Neuqua's 18, where Hughes was stuffed on a fourth-and-2 run. The teams traded punts after that -- with Hughes pinning the Wildcats at the 1 before the lightning reappeared and the suspended game was confirmed.