Mark Forcucci, Ross Dansdill and their Wheaton North teammates won’t get any playoff games in this delayed and abbreviated season.
But they got the next best thing: a 17-14 DuKane Conference home victory Saturday against crosstown rival Wheaton Warrenville South.
‘‘Our linebacker, Hugh Werner, before the game, he was giving us a little pep talk, and that’s what he mentioned: This is the Super Bowl for us right here,’’ said Forcucci, a junior quarterback.
It’s also a good conversation-starter for Dansdill, a sophomore linebacker who has three cousins who played for WW South.
‘‘It feels good,’’ Dansdill said with a grin. ‘‘I’m going to talk trash to them. My relatives are on the south side [of Wheaton]; we’re on the north side. They’ve been trying to get me to move, transfer. But I stay on the north side.’’
Dansdill is part of an impressive nucleus of young players for the Falcons (3-0, 3-0).
Forcucci passed for 121 yards and a touchdown. Fellow junior Brayton Maske ran 30 times for 124 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 22 yards and a score.
WW South’s Eddie Robinson had nine carries for 121 yards, including a 65-yarder for a touchdown, and caught five passes for 31 yards and a score. Parker Brown threw for 147 yards, including 79 on six passes to Brandon Bell.
For Wheaton North, Forcucci’s 13 completions went to six receivers. Four of them are juniors: Seth Kortenhoeven, Casey Morrison, Kaiden Libby and Maske.
‘‘Just being up on the varsity level last year, along with Jackson Moore and Brayton Maske and Kaiden Libby . . . just coming back out here with that second year of confidence and experience, it’s big,’’ Forcucci said.
That showed in two drives, one at the end of each half. Up 3-0, Wheaton North took over at its 20 with 1:44 left in the first half and went 80 yards on 11 plays to score on Maske’s 24-yard run as time expired.
Then, after WW South (2-1, 2-1) pulled to 17-14 on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Robinson with 9:28 left, the Falcons put together a drive that lasted almost eight minutes.
Though it ended with a blocked field-goal attempt, the drive forced WW South to use all three of its timeouts on defense. The Tigers’ final drive ended at the Falcons’ 42 with a turnover on downs.
‘‘That was big,’’ Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski said. ‘‘It would have been nice to get some points out of it, but the fact we were able to milk the clock and make them burn their timeouts, that was a good accomplishment.’’
So was playing such a meaningful game after months of uncertainty because of the pandemic.
‘‘It does feel good to get this game in against them,’’ Wardynski said. ‘‘I would have felt terrible for these kids if they didn’t get a chance to play their crosstown rival.’’