Neuqua Valley escapes with win vs. Naperville Central in 2OT thriller
Palmer Domschke does just about everything for the Neuqua Valley football team.
Arguably the fastest player on his team, the senior plays safety and he's also the Wildcats' kicker.
Against Naperville Central on Friday, in a battle of DuPage Valley Conference heavyweights, Domschke got the opportunity to run the ball. He got three touches in overtime, scored on two of them, and led Neuqua Valley to a 20-17 victory.
Not bad, considering he missed a field goal wide right at the end of the third quarter that would have put the first points on the board in the game.
Was he surprised coach Bill Ellinghaus gave him the ball in such a glitch situation?
"Not at all," he insisted, as his teammates were mobbed by the Neuqua Valley fans. "He knows how much this team means to me, and he knows I'm going to get the job done for this team, and thankfully I got in the end zone for him."
He started overtime with a jet sweep right and dove into the pylon for a touchdown. His own extra point gave the Wildcats a 14-7 lead.
Naperville Central (3-2, 1-1) responded with a 1-yard run by senior quarterback Owen Prucha, with senior kicker Seth Lendzion equaling the score.
In the second overtime, Lendzion gave the Redhawks a brief 17-14 lead with a field goal.
When the scene switched back to Neuqua Valley (5-0, 2-0), Domschke put up a 5-yard gain. After junior Jaden McGee added a yard, Domschke hit paydirt again, on the same play as the first overtime.
Lendzion's field goal gave Domschke all the motivation he needed in the second overtime.
"I knew we were going to win it at that point," he said. "I knew coach was going to give it to me and I was going to get in no matter what."
Across the field, Naperville Central coach Mike Ulreich lamented what might have been.
"It was a great high school football game," he said. "It's third and 5, we feel really good about our defense. They put 34 (Domschke) in the backfield, and he makes a play."
The loss put a damper on a nice night by Prucha, who went 12-for-18 passing for 156 yards and a 19-yard touchdown to senior James Jopes early in the fourth quarter.
But on its ensuing drive, Neuqua Valley would respond with a 40-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Mark Mennecke to senior receiver Justin Nonnemann. Mennecke finished with 15-for-29 passing for 130 yards.
"What I take away from a game like this, we're going to continue to battle every step of the way," Ellinghaus said.