Naperville Central claims first victory
Naperville Central is a team, like any other, that has goals for the season. The Redhawks were finally able to reach the No. 1 goal on their list Friday night.
Naperville Central scored 42 unanswered points en route to beating visiting Metea Valley 42-14 for the Redhawks' first win of the season. It was the DuPage Valley Conference opener for both teams.
"You have to get the first one before anything else," said Redhawks coach Mike Stine. "The kids, we talk a lot to them. We're two-time DVC champs. We're on a journey to try and three-peat and qualify for the playoffs. These are goals we have."
The victory pushed Naperville Central to 1-3 overall. Metea fell to 1-3.
The Redhawks' scoring came from steady ball movement and the big play.
Quarterback Sam Jackson ran for 3 touchdowns, including a 62-yard play, and threw for another. His 26-yard scoring run was set up by an interception by Luke Peterson.
"It feels pretty good to get (the first win) out of the way. The team was kind of down after the first three games," Jackson said.
The biggest play of all the big plays by Naperville Central came from senior Jadon Thompson, who returned a punt 78 yards to put the Redhawks up 28-0. Later, he apparently scored on a 40-yard punt return, but that was negated by a penalty.
"I had a beat on the last guy and thanks to my teammates, the others were all blocked," Thompson said of the 78-yard play.
Thompson said the team had a good week leading up to Friday night.
"It's the best week of practice we've had. On Monday we came out with intensity," he said. "Hopefully, this is the first of many wins."
Elijah Jordan scored first for Naperville Central on an 8-yard run later. Late in the first half, Bo Turner was the recipient of Jackson's lone TD toss, a 4-yard play.
Metea finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter. Quarterback Logan Frederick threw passes of 14 and 35 yards to Austin Frederick that set up a 19-yard scoring catch by Colin Wilcox.
Later, with 7:52 remaining in the contest, a 4-yard run by Elijah Wright and his subsequent conversion run closed out the game's scoring for the night.
"We just did not execute the plays we had," Wilcox said.