A historic night for Wauconda

Bulldogs win first conference title since 1972

By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/16/2021 1:27 PM

Wauconda keeps finding ways to rewrite history with its unbeaten run this season. The Bulldogs won their first conference title since 1972 and registered their first 8-win regular season Friday night when they raced past visiting Grayslake North 62-30 in a Northern Lake County Conference game in Wauconda.

"I told the kids, congratulations, you're conference champs no matter what happens," Wauconda coach Dave Mills said. "We had a lot of mistakes and those have to corrected so we can get back to the way we were."


Wauconda improved its record to 8-0 and 6-0 in the NLCC, while Grayslake North dropped to 2-6 and 1-5.

"This group doesn't amaze me," Mills said, "because, we're used to it. We were down 3-0 and we've been down in two other games this year. Everybody is waiting for our kids to crack. But they get angry and play harder. They like challenges and they play a physical brand of football."

The Knights had an early 3-0 lead on Cooper Perhacs' 33-yard field on the opening possession with 4:28 left in the opening quarter.

But, Wauconda scored 28 unanswered points to lead 28-3 that was capped off on quarterback Vince Bennett's 60-yard run with 2:29 left in the second quarter. Bennett added another 68-yard scamper with no time left in the half and extended the lead to 35-10.

"It all starts with the line," said Bennett, who had 10 rushes for 195 yards with 5 touchdowns running while throwing for another. "You can't run the ball without blocking. When blocking fails, then there's nothing there. Every once in a while you can break it, but it all starts there."

Collin Husko was the catalyst all over the field for the Bulldogs. He started with a 75-yard kickoff return that set up the opening score. He followed up with a 34-yard punt return which was another opportunity for another TD. Husko (14 carries, 77 yards) also added rushing touchdowns from 2 and 3 yards out.

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"I get going with the energy from the team," Husko said. "They get me started right away. The blocking, we understand how it starts things off and get the momentum going."

Chase Groelle caught a 46-yard TD pass and Connor Vanselow rushed for a 2-yard TD run for Wauconda.

Grayslake North quarterback Jacob Donohue was back for his second game after he missed two games with a concussion. Donahue was 27 of 50 for 373 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception. Wide receiver Nathan Atwell had 11 catches for 137 yards and caught a TD. Other touchdowns receiving were Michael Jefferson (74 yards), Andres Morales-Gomes (53 yards) and Thomas Standerski (16 yards).

"Wauconda plays great defense, they get down and hit hard," Grayslake North coach Corey Atwell said. "That's the hardest we've been hit this year and they keep coming at you defensively. Their running backs are shifty and fast. They're just tough to contain."

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