Maschmeier, Naperville North take thriller from Waubonsie Valley
Offense. Defense. Special teams.
Matt Maschmeier mastered all of them Friday night.
While he didn't do it single-handed, the Naperville North senior more than did his part in propelling the Huskies to their first football victory of the season, a 31-28 thriller against visiting Waubonsie Valley.
You want offense? Maschmeier caught 7 passes for 142 yards and an 80-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Anthony Gabrione.
How about defense? Maschmeier returned an interception 87 yards with 3:54 left in the game to pull the Huskies to within 28-25.
And don't forget special teams. Maschmeier scored Naperville North's first touchdown on a 89-yard kickoff return.
Do the math. That's 318 all-purpose yards.
But it might have been that interception that was the most memorable, and damaging to Waubonsie Valley, because it gave Naperville North (1-3, 1-0 DuPage Valley Conference) the momentum it needed to seize, then hold, the lead.
"I knew we had to make a big play on defense," he said. "I'm thankful that coach gave me the opportunity to go out and play DB. I played it sophomore year when I got moved up, and definitely some time as a junior. I turned to coach, looked for the coverage, and coach kind of told me to pick it off and take it to the house."
He also caught the 2-point conversion to get to 28-25. But the game was far from over.
Waubonsie Valley went three-and-out in its next possession, giving the Huskies the ball on the Warriors' 47 with 2:47 to go. It took 11 plays -- and two big 15-yard Waubonsie Valley penalties -- but Naperville North was back in the end zone with 54 seconds left on a 5-yard pass from Gabrione to junior Stephan Williams.
The Warriors, though, had one last gasp. Senior quarterback Ethan Nelson went 5 for 6 in leading his team from its own 27 to the Naperville North 9, thanks in part to a 27-yard pass play to senior receiver Myles Pettaway.
With six seconds left Waubonsie Valley stepped into a 26-yard field-goal attempt that would have tied the game. But the ball was wide right.
"We've battled back in games," Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said. "We haven't been able to win them, but we've battled back in quite a few games in the past couple of years. We haven't been able to get over the top, but tonight we were able to. It's like the perseverance . … Hey, we're not dead yet. There's a lot of things that went right for us."
Waubonsie Valley (2-2, 0-1) got a great effort from Nelson, who completed 17 of 32 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns, all to junior receiver Sean Clinton. Clinton finished with 5 catches for 176 yards and scoring plays of 64, 59 and 42 yards.
"I put in a lot of work to make those plays open," Clinton said. "They weren't covering me all night, and I made them pay."
Not to be outdone, senior running back Bryce Logan rushed 22 times for 132 yards.
However, it was a tough road loss for the Warriors and coach Paul Murphy,
"You can't make the mistakes we made and expect to win," Murphy said. "We throw a pick-6 and we give up a touchdown on that kick return. You don't make your extra points, you get them blocked. Those all add up."