Metea Valley couldn’t ask for an opponent that’s closer to home for its first-ever postseason appearance.
The eighth-seeded Mustangs (5-4) will travel down Eola Road to face top-seeded Waubonsie Valley (8-1) in Class 8A.
The teams’ last meeting on Oct. 3 was an instant classic, with the Warriors holding on for a 38-37 victory. It was a battle of running backs with Waubonsie Valley’s Tony Durns rushing 23 times for 172 yards and four touchdowns and Metea Valley’s Bryson Oliver carrying it 44 times for 258 yards and four TDs as well.
“We knew because our seed fell after losing Friday that we had a chance to get them,” Metea Valley coach Ben Kleinhans said. “The kids are excited. They played them tight the last time and it’s a common opponent. It’ll come down to whoever plays the best football.”
The Mustangs met at the school on Saturday night to learn their fate. After consuming a few dozen pizzas, they tuned to the TV. Shortly after 9 p.m. they erupted in excitement when they learned of their second date with their biggest foe.
“This game can go either way because the first game was so close,” Oliver said. “We’re excited. We can’t wait to get there.”
The Mustangs were hoping for a second chance against the Warriors.
“We only lost by one so that was a tough one to take, plus they’re right down the street from us,” Metea quarterback Kyle Mooney said. “We’re looking forward to another shot at them.”
Metea senior defensive end Erin Morgan had to rush back from a college visit at Drake to be there with his teammates. There was no way he was going to miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“There was no place I’d rather be than watching that pairing show with my teammates,” he said. “This is very exciting.”
At this time a year ago, the Mustangs were turning in their equipment. Now, they’re turning their attention to a rematch with the Warriors.
“Last year coach (Ben) Kleinhans gave us a speech about how we could be in the playoffs next year,” Mooney said. “We got it. It’s something your dream about but this is a much better experience because it’s real.”
The other area teams will have some intriguing matchups in Class 8A as well.
Fourth-seeded Naperville Central (7-2) will take on fifth-seeded Brother Rice (6-3), which is a tough draw for both squads. Brother Rice was battled tested in the Catholic Blue League while the Redhawks once again endured the DuPage Valley Conference.
“I don’t know much about them other than they play in a great conference,” Redhawks coach Mike Stine said. “Their record is misleading because of that. We didn’t expect that they’d be in the same quadrant as us, but the IHSA brought them out west.
“We’re excited to play someone we never played before. It’s a tough draw for both schools, but both teams will look forward to the challenge.”
The winner of the aforementioned two games will then meet in a second round game.
The other area matchups will see third-seeded Homewood-Flossmoor (7-2) take on sixth-seeded Neuqua Valley (6-3) and third-seeded Hinsdale Central (7-2) face sixth-seeded Benet (6-3).