Metea Valley races past Belleville East for first victory
Logan Frederick had a good feeling.
"I knew he was going to be open before I even threw the ball," the Metea Valley quarterback said of future Division-I wide receiver Jalen Johnson.
The Mustangs' Northern Illinois University recruit did the rest.
"I let my eyes follow the ball," Johnson said. "I looked it in and was off to the races."
Johnson rumbled 58 yards to give Metea Valley the lead late in the fourth quarter, and the Mustangs withstood two desperate Belleville East efforts in the waning moments Friday night in Aurora to secure a 15-14 nonconference football victory.
Virtually every Metea Valley student in the stadium stormed the field to celebrate the first non-forfeit home victory since the regular-season finale in 2015.
Frederick and Johnson collaborated twice in a two-minute and 58-second span to give Metea Valley (1-2) its first win in three home attempts while dropping the Lancers to 0-3.
It was looking grim for Metea Valley when its only two first-half possessions ended in missed field goals.
The Lancers, meanwhile, controlled the line of scrimmage and time of possession behind feature back Molsey Trimble, who finished with a game-high 124 yards on 34 punishing carries.
Trimble, whose 1-yard burst was the only score in the opening half, extended the Lancers' lead to 14-3 with another short TD run on his seventh consecutive carry following a lost Metea Valley fumble late in the third quarter.
"Twenty-six (Mosley) is a very good back," Belleville East coach Michael Harrison said. "He is having a very good junior year."
But the tenure of the game changed immeasurably when two critical penalties enabled the Mustangs to start in plus-territory with nine-plus minutes remaining.
Two plays later, it was a one-score game as Johnson hauled in a 10-yard strike following a 38-yard John Flynn circus catch.
"John Flynn made a huge play," Johnson said. "That's John Flynn -- big plays, left and right."
"We knew we were back in this game," said Frederick, who connected with Johnson eight times for 149 yards and Flynn five times for 90 more yards. "The defense needed to get a stop -- and that's exactly what we did."
The Metea Valley defense had impeccable timing with its first three-and-out of the game on the Lancers' ensuing possession.
Striking quickly once again, the Johnson 58-yard strike off a crossing route came two plays after Frederick began the three-play drive with an 18-yard reception to Earl Hightower.
The Lancers' final two possessions ended with a fourth-down incompletion and a Frederick interception as time expired.