For West Aurora, there was no margin of error.
Up against a quicker Metea Valley team, the visiting Blackhawks needed to capitalize on every opportunity. But they were unable to do so on their second drive, leaving all the momentum on Metea’s side.
The result: The Mustangs scored in all three phases and routed West Aurora 42-13 in the Upstate Eight Valley.
Metea Valley (2-2, 1-1) now looks toward next week’s key conference game against South Elgin. Meanwhile, West Aurora (0-4, 0-2) is still searching for its first win since rejoining the Upstate Eight.
The only sustained drive by the Blackhawks against the Metea starters lasted over eight minutes late in the first quarter. Strong running by Tarshma Jackson (74 yards on 19 carries) and a Mustang personal foul helped West Aurora advance 15 plays to the Mustang 10.
But on fourth down, quarterback Johnathon Doyle was sacked by Erin Morgan to snuff out the threat.
“We’re not getting breaks right now, and then we seem to be battling 20 years of turning this program around,” West Aurora coach Nate Eimer said. “I will say we’re not where we want to be, but our guys didn’t quit.”
The Mustangs were already up 7-0 on a 59-yard punt return by speedster Bryson Oliver. When the offense got the ball back, three passes from Kyle Mooney to Nick Dodson highlighted an 80-yard drive that Oliver finished with a 3-yard run. Metea dominated from there.
After the Mustang defense turned West aside on the long drive, the Blackhawks could only muster one first down in four possessions before the Metea reserves entered in the third quarter.
Metea took a 28-0 lead into halftime, courtesy of a 25-yard fumble return by Benjamin Belskis and a perfect 17-yard fade pass from Mooney to Dodson (fivereceptions, 64 yards). At intermission, the Mustangs had outgained West Aurora 192-50.
Oliver entered the game leading area rushers with 534 yards. Against the Blackhawks, he was only needed for eight carries, producing 109 yards, and the long punt return.
“The blocking was pretty good,” Oliver said. “There were a lot of open lanes I got through. On the punt return, I was going to fair catch, but I saw some openings so I just took off.”
The Mustangs pushed the lead to 42-0 in the third quarter on Mooney 3-yard TD slant pass to Kris King and a 19-yard TD run by Maurice Burkley.
“Last week, we were not on the same page,” said Mooney of his offense, which committed no turnovers against West. “We worked all week to get on the same page, and it paid off. It feels good for us to get better as the season goes on.”
West Aurora got on the board in the fourth with touchdown runs of 2 yards by Jackson and 9 by Doyle.