Beedle, Owens power Wheaton North past Larkin
On Friday night at Jim Rexilius Field in Wheaton, the Falcons' backfield tandem of Luke Beedle and Walker Owens led Wheaton North to a 42-0 victory over Larkin in the opening round of the Class 7A playoffs.
The Falcons, seeded fourth in 7A, will now host 13th-seeded Hoffman Estates (8-2) next week.
Beedle and Owens accounted for most the Falcons' 299 rushing yards and scored all six of the team's touchdowns. Beedle gained 145 yards on 14 carries while Owens ran 13 times for 116 yards.
"We wanted to run the ball and for the most part we were able to do that," Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski said. "And the weather kind of forced us to do that. We had a difficult time throwing the ball the few times we tried."
Falcons quarterback Mark Forcucci completed 3 of 6 passes for 42 yards.
The Falcons' defense did not allow Larkin's offense to get on track. Wheaton North (9-1) held the Royals to a total of 37 yards.
"When you can put a goose egg on the board for the opposition that is a good night. The defense did a really good job," said Wardynski. "Larkin has kids that can make plays with speed on the perimeter and a good quarterback (Dontrell Maxie) who can run and pass."
"The difference tonight was their size and their strength. They are definitely on another level," said Larkin first-year coach Grant Dietz. "They are where we want to be in the next few years."
Beedle scored Wheaton North's first three touchdowns in the first half on runs of 25, 9 and 29 yards.
A 1-yard plunge by Owens with 5:46 left in the second quarter put the Falcons up 28-0 at halftime.
Beedle scored his fourth TD of the night on a 1-yard run four minutes into the third quarter. On the Falcons' next possession, Owens crossed the goal line on an 8-yard run for the team's final score.
Both Beedle and Owens credited their offensive line for giving them plenty of room to run.
"You could have driven a truck through the holes they opened up," Beedle said.
Turnovers also hurt Larkin (5-5). In the first quarter, a bad snap on a punt at Larkin's 35-yard line set up the Falcons' second touchdown.
The Royals' most promising possession of the first half, the only one where they moved into Falcons territory, ended at Wheaton North's 40-yard line on a fumble.
"I'm still proud, very proud, of the team this year and what we have been able to achieve in such a short amount of time," Dietz said. "Now we just need to build off of that."
Larkin senior lineman Michael Hibbler was injured on a play late in the fourth quarter and was taken off the field on a stretcher.
"Most of the stuff on the field was precautionary," Dietz said. "We are waiting to hear what the word is."