Neuqua Valley tops pesky Metea Valley
Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley are on opposite ends of the DuPage Valley Conference football standings spectrum, but that didn't diminish the battle that ensued Friday at Metea.
The Wildcats won 43-21 to stay atop the DVC standings, but the Mustangs made their presence known for a good portion of the contest in Aurora.
Neuqua moved to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the DVC, and that sixth victory dried the ink on a playoff berth with two games remaining.
"Every week we're working hard in practice, getting the fundamentals down and working on the small things," said junior running back Armani Moreno, who scored three first-half touchdowns.
The cold wasn't a factor for the players, according to Moreno.
"The starters came out hot, came out fast and wanted to finish," he said.
And that's what the Wildcats did. Neuqua opened the scoring halfway through the first quarter on Moreno's first TD of the contest.
Metea (1-6, 0-4) responded on the ensuing drive with a huge play as quarterback Logan Fredericks connected to Colin Wilcox. Wilcox ran about 10 yards before he broke free from the Neuqua secondary en route to a 74-yard TD pass play.
Late in the first quarter, Neuqua's Jeremiah Robertson tackled a runner in the end zone for a safety, for the Wildcats' first lead at 8-6.
Neuqua then proceeded to score 21 points in the second quarter to lead 29-6 at halftime. And it got the ball to start the second half and scored to move ahead, 36-6.
While the Mustangs struggled to run the ball, Fredericks threw for 256 yards.
With 8:59 left in the third, Will Hopkins grabbed a throw from Fredericks for a 53-yard completion into the end zone. Fredericks topped that with a 2-point conversion pass to D'Mareon Rule.
Hopkins' second fumble recovery, set up Metea's final score of the night, a 7-yard run by Wilcox.
Hopkins' quarterback sack early in the second quarter caused a 12-yard loss for Neuqua.
"It's his first year playing football. He plays basketball. He said he wanted to play football and I said, 'Let's try it,'" said Metea coach John Parpet.
The team showed positives on offense despite being without senior tight end Austin Frederick, who was out with the flu.
"Our effort was good. Neuqua executed early on. We got points in the second half. But Neuqua is one of the top teams in the area. We had to be perfect," Parpet said.