St. Charles North prevails in defensive struggle
The St. Charles North defense was asked to rise to the occasion one last time.
Daniel Kowaleski answered for the North Stars.
Kowaleski sacked Wheaton North quarterback Mark Forcucci on fourth-and-four from the North Stars' 46-yard line with one minute and 29 seconds remaining in a DuKane Conference defensive slugfest Friday night in St. Charles.
With its fourth defensive stand of the game, the North Stars were able to secure a 14-12 victory over the previously undefeated Falcons.
Both teams are now 3-1 overall and in the league.
"We played as a team on all those fourth downs," Kowaleski said. "We were down but we weren't out. It took all 11 of us. We just kept going."
The North Stars' Jordan Nubin, a two-way standout who will be a preferred walk-on at Minnesota in the fall, scored the lone offensive second-half points with a 26-yard catch and run from quarterback Michael Priami with 7:28 remaining.
The North Stars' Jack Dummer added his second conversion kick of the game to give St. Charles North a 14-10 lead.
"We got to come out here on Senior Night for one last time on our home field," Nubin said. "That's the best way to go out. (The winning score) was a designed play for me."
Following four consecutive three-and-outs, Wheaton North drew to 14-12 when the North Stars' center sailed a snap out of the end zone on a punt attempt.
But Wheaton North would not be able to steal the win with 1:58 left to play.
The North Stars' defense, which earlier allowed a mere 3 points after the offense turned the ball over twice deep in its own end, stopped Wheaton North cold.
"That was a win for us," Kowaleski said.
Wheaton North had to settle for a chip-shot Trace Hrgich field goal to open the first-half scoring four plays after a Ross Dansdill interception.
The Falcons appeared to be in a grand position to open the third quarter when St. Charles North fumbled on its first carry of the second half.
But the Falcons could only lament their missed chances afterwards.
"We were outsized a little bit upfront," Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski said. "We lost a (starting) running back (Brayton Maske) early in the game. We had opportunities; we didn't execute when we needed to."
The Falcons were seeking to regain the momentum to start the third after Josh Bridges' 15-yard sweep around right end cut their deficit to 10-7 just before halftime.
A 41-yard double-pass play between Kaiden Libby and Casey Morrison highlighted the Falcons' 72-yard scoring drive -- capped by a 10-yard Forcucci 10-yard strike -- the previous possession.