Metea Valley’s early success passing Saturday led to a different South Elgin defensive strategy, so the Mustangs went to “Plan B.”
Bryson Oliver got the ball 31 times and rushed for 251 yards to lead Metea to a 44-27 Upstate Eight Valley victory in what the Mustangs regarded as a potential turning point for their season.
“We didn’t want to go 2-3 because we felt that would have made it a lot tougher to make the playoffs,” said Oliver, a 5-6, 150-pound senior. “The running game, that really wasn’t the game plan. We were planning to throw the ball a lot more. The first couple games I was getting a lot of carries and then it slowed down after that.
“But we did what we had to do and the O-line got me the holes.”
Quarterback Kyle Mooney completed 11 of 14 passes for 128 yards and threw three of his four touchdown passes in the first half for Metea Valley (3-2, 2-1), including one for 9 yards deep in the left corner to Kris King and a 16-yarder over the middle to Nick Dodson two on the first two possessions.
“We came out throwing and we scored and they changed up their defense and they brought everyone back in coverage, and so we started running a little it more,” Mooney said.
South Elgin (2-3, 1-2) had defensive problems for the second straight week as Oliver scored on a 7-yard TD run, Mooney connected with Michael Phillips for a 21-yard TD pass and Michael Sfikas booted a 38-yard field goal to give the Mustangs a 34-13 halftime advantage.
“I’m disappointed that our seniors weren’t able to walk out of here with a ‘W’ on homecoming,” South Elgin coach Pat Pistorio said. “We’re trying to improve our tackling midseason and that sometimes is difficult to do when you’re kind of beat up.”
The Storm defense wasn’t alone in making mistakes. South Elgin quarterback Hayden Nelson threw a 40-yard TD pass to Shawn Griffin in the first quarter and a 27-yarder to Nick Menken in the second quarter, but safety Reggie Hill and Kelvin Givantt II came up with first-half interceptions that allowed Metea a chance to pull away.
So Pistorio went with junior quarterback Jake Amrhein in the second half and he completed a 3-yard TD pass to Andrew Kamienski and led a fourth-quarter drive to Griffin’s 2-yard TD run while completing 11-for-14 for 177 yards.
“I know they both can contribute,” Pistorio said of his QBs. “We can win with both of them.”
Metea, though, just kept handing it to Oliver in the second half and he broke a 50-yard TD run, then carried for 36 yards on a drive to Mooney’s 24-yard TD pass to Dodson.
“It’s just a swing game, we felt, for our season,” Metea coach Ben Kleinhans said. “We hadn’t had two back-to-back wins this year. We’ve just got a lot of focused kids, and they weren’t going to let anything get in their way here.
“Everything we want is right there. It’s going to take solid football games, physical football games like we played [Saturday].”