Neuqua Valley escapes against DeKalb
They call it the weak side for a reason, but the reason is definitely not Neuqua Valley's Trey Borske.
The junior weakside linebacker made his defense's strongest plays of Friday night, sacking DeKalb's quarterback on back-to-back plays as the Barbs were driving late in the fourth quarter.
"Coach saw an opening for me to make a play and he sent me," Borske said. "It was great that coach trusted me to send me and I did what I had to do to help us get the W."
The junior's two sacks turned the ball over to the Wildcats offense, which bled the clock to seal the thrilling 34-30 DuPage Valley Conference football showdown in Naperville.
The Barbs had made big play after big play -- usually through the air -- all night on third down. But in the second half, the Neuqua Valley defense began to buckle down.
On the final drive it finished things off.
"Trey Borske did a tremendous job right there," Wildcats coach Bill Ellinghaus said. "He came off the end and wasn't going to be denied. He's one of the fastest kids we have on the team and he proved it right there."
The defensive stand supported a second-half comeback in which the Wildcats turned around a 30-21 deficit by scoring 14 unanswered points.
Late in the third quarter, Neuqua Valley quarterback Mark Gronowski hit Patrick Hoffman on an 8-yard slant for a score, and on the ensuing possession Gronowski plunged over the goal line for a 1-yard score to give his team the 34-30 lead.
The Wildcats halted four of the Barbs' five second-half possessions after giving up 252 yards to the visitors in the first half.
"We came out with a chip on our shoulder," Borske said. "We knew we could stop their offense … and whatever coach said we listened to."
The Barbs were sharp in the first half.
Facing a 14-7 deficit, DeKalb scored 16 unanswered points that included a safety after Tucker Ikens wrapped up Gronowski in the end zone, and a 49-yard double pass, in which quarterback Trenton Kyler passed backward to Alex Siebens, who fired a deep ball to Donovan Lacey for a 49-yard score.
Kyler had 182 yards passing and two scores in the first half, while Siebens had two touchdowns receiving and one throwing. Lacey finished with 142 yards receiving, and the team's power back Jalon Remond had 20 carries for 99 yards.
The Barbs had nine plays of 15-plus yards on the evening.
It was DeKalb's first DVC clash, and coach Keith Snyder thinks the Barbs made a statement and silenced some critics.
"I guess we just didn't get the memo that we weren't supposed to show up in the DVC," he said. "I guess we didn't get the memo that we're supposed to roll over because we have 1,800 kids and we're smaller than everybody by 1,000 students.
"Our kids played with love, effort, attitude and discipline. I guess we didn't know we weren't supposed to compete and show up."
The Wildcats were not down 23-14 for long, though.
Off the Barbs double-pass score, Neuqua Valley's junior return man Garrett Stare took the kickoff 86 yards to the house to cut the deficit to just 2 points.
And out of the locker room for the second half, it was clear the Wildcats had made defensive adjustments.
DeKalb, which fell to 2-2, gave Neuqua Valley, now 3-1, all it could handle for three-plus quarters. But the Wildcats finally figured out the potent Barbs offense and now must prepare for neighbor rival Waubonsie Valley on the road at 7:30 p.m. next Friday.