Naperville North finishes off victory over Metea Valley
One might be tempted to say it was like night and day.
In reality when Naperville North and Metea Valley returned to Mustang Stadium on Saturday it was another half of close, hard-fought football.
Picking up where it had left off -- up 7-0 at halftime when Friday's storms caused suspension of play -- Naperville North scored the first time it had the ball and held off host Metea Valley 21-14 in a DuPage Valley Conference game in Aurora.
Huskies sophomore Elijah Jordan scored on touchdown runs of 25 and 17 yards on top of his 4-yarder before the storm. Filling in for injured Ameir Wilbourn, Jordan ran for 133 yards on 26 carries to improve Naperville North's record to 2-5, 1-2.
"My line did a great job blocking today," Jordan said. "Chase (McClure, right guard) and John (Manzardo, left guard), they did a great job pulling on the plays that I scored on. I want to just thank them for that, they did a great job today."
Twice answering Naperville North scoring drives, Metea Valley (1-6, 0-2) pulled within 21-14 with 3:12 left to play on Mustangs quarterback Max Reeves' first touchdown pass at home, an 18-yarder to tailback Colin Wilcox sprinting free behind the secondary.
A Huskies penalty after the touchdown moved the kickoff up to Naperville North's 45-yard line. All assembled knew Metea would try an onside kick. Greg Bingham executed it brilliantly with teammate Julian Wlodarczyk leaping to field a high bounce near the 35-yard line.
Two officials, stationed across the field from each other on the 35, ruled the ball was caught before it had gone a full 10 yards, giving Naperville North possession and the Metea folk fits.
The Huskies had to punt it away, but on the very next play Sean Doyle's interception allowed Naperville North to run out the clock.
"From our side obviously it looked like it was 9, 9-and-a-half yards that they touched it. It was close," said Naperville North coach Sean Drendel. "I understand where they're coming from and how tough it is for them. We're two teams fighting for wins, we're going to keep playing hard and I think (Metea coach Ben Kleinhans') group did a great job."
"It was close, there was no doubt about it," Kleinhans said, "but you hope in that moment when it's right on the line there, you're hoping you get the benefit of the doubt for that. It's one that we thought we should have got, but at the end of the day that wasn't what determined the game."
Jordan and Naperville North quarterback Cliff Vickers' 183 yards passing helped do that, while Wilcox ran for 79 yards and caught 5 passes for 79 more. Wlodarczyk, a North Dakota State commit, scored Metea's first touchdown on a 1-yard run out of the Wildcat formation.
"I thought as a team we played really well," said Metea's Conor Murphy, who played left offensive guard and made 9 tackles and an interception on defense. "We just had a couple bad breaks, a couple bad plays but for the most part we played really well."