Wheaton North had incentive and pride. They also had John Peltz.
The star senior quarterback threw three touchdown passes and collected 205 yards throwing in leading the host No. 13 Falcons to a 23-13 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South 23-13 Friday night in Wheaton.
The emotional victory was the Falcons’ first against the Tigers since 2002, setting off a wild final scene as the Wheaton North student section celebrated by storming the field upon the game’s final horn.
Wheaton North (8-1, 6-1 DuPage Valley) dominated the first half in jumping out to a 23-0 advantage and limiting the Tigers to just 20 plays on offense.
Peltz threw two touchdown passes to senior Tom Colletti (six catches, 43 yards) and another touchdown to Kaelen Bradford. Patrick Sharp balanced the passing attack by running for 61 yards on 17 carries. Defensively, Jonathan Chapman had two sacks, Jaylen Howze had an interception and JD Marconirecorded a safety for the Falcons.
The Falcons’ crushing final second 17-15 loss to Glenbard North last week eliminated their hopes for a conference title. Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski said Peltz and the other seniors were ready to make a statement. “We didn’t get it done last week,” he said.
“We hadn’t been playing as well as we had been. But we have a great group of seniors that we can lean on, and they told me this week they were going to get it done tonight.”
Tigers quarterback Ryan Graham tried valiantly to stage a second half comeback for Wheaton South (4-5, 4-3). Graham threw for one touchdown and rushed for a second touchdown. Peltz dashed any hope of a comeback by producing an extended drive that ended at the Tigers’ five-yard line with just two minutes remaining.
The last time Wheaton South lost to the Falcons was also the last year they failed to make the state playoffs, 2002, during the first-year of coach Ron Muhitch. After winning back-to-back state titles and appearing in the last three state championship games, the Tigers find themselves in a very unfamiliar place.
“It’s going to be a different October for the Tigers,” Muhitch said. “But we were banged up this year. We were young at quarterback and in the secondary. But we’re excited about our sophomore class.There’s a lot to look forward to next season.”