After losing for the first time this season, a 27-24 double overtime loss at home to West Aurora on Friday, Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy said “we need to watch some tape and figure out what the heck is going on.”
Upon film review, it’s apparent the Warriors need to tackle better.
“We’ve got to do a better job of reading and we’ve got to tackle better,” Murphy said. “It’s not that we’re getting whipped, but we’re not filling gaps and we’ve got to tackle.”
The Warriors had been toying with the dramatics in their two games prior to the loss, needing overtime to beat Glenbard East, before edging Metea Valley, 38-37. That set the stage for West Aurora, which had previously battled Neuqua Valley.
“Credit to West Aurora for converting some long third- and fourth-down plays and keeping us off the field,” Murphy said. “We only had 30 plays and scored 17 points, but we let them convert.”
Now the Warriors have to rebound against rival Neuqua Valley.
“When you’re undefeated you know everyone is going to play their ‘A’ game against you,” Murphy said. “Now that we’ve got that monkey off our back it’s time to go back to playing football.”
The time has come
If Metea Valley (4-3) can beat Glenbard East (3-4) on Friday, the Mustangs will be guaranteed a winning record during the regular season for the first time in school history. More significantly though, Metea will become playoff-eligible, which accompanies win No. 5.
The Rams have lost three consecutive close games. They sustained heartbreaking overtime losses to Waubonsie Valley and Bartlett before losing a shootout, 42-36, to South Elgin on Saturday.
“It’s a playoff game for both teams,” Mustangs coach Ben Kleinhans said. “They’ve had some close games and if a couple plays go their way, they’re sitting at 5-2. They’re a very good team, well-coached and it’s always scary playing a team with its back against the wall. We’re going to have to be at our best.”
All about the defense
Somewhere in downstate Normal, former Naperville Central quarterback Jake Kolbe must be wondering how the Redhawks are winning, despite having thrown only one touchdown pass.
Well, Jake, it’s all about the defense, and this year’s defense may be even better than that of last year’s Class 8A state champs.
After losing 20-6 to Waubonsie Valley in Week 1, the Redhawks have only allowed 30 points during a six-game winning streak.
Opponents are averaging just 165.4 yards per game against them.
“Our defense has been very good,” Redhawks coach Mike Stine said. “We’ve got several different playmakers on defense and they’re all athletic and they execute.”
Offensively, while Conor Joyce isn’t putting up huge numbers, he’s simply doing what the coaching staff asks of him. He’s avoiding mistakes and keeping the chains moving by consistently handing the ball off to Kevin Clifford while occasionally airing it out to Michael Kolzow and Emmanuel Rugamba.
“People say we have to score more but I just checked the IHSA website and we’ve scored the most points in our conference,” Stine said. “We’re making the plays we need to make and we’re continuing to get better.”
Rutter tops the list
When Neuqua Valley quarterback Broc Rutter connected with Isaiah Robertson for a 30-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter of the Wildcats’ 48-35, win over West Aurora on Oct. 3, it was Rutter’s 39th career touchdown pass. That moved him past Alex Lincoln for the most touchdown passes in school history.
Rutter threw a couple more in that game, as well as last week, and now has 46.