Breaking It Down: Neuqua Valley came out fired up and ready to play from the very start. The Wildcats were very aggressive on both sides of the ball. The defense forced two Metea Valley turnovers and forced five first-half sacks, putting the Mustangs in a very deep hole. Running back Joey Rhattigan got things rolling with a pair of touchdowns in the first three minutes and QB Dylan Andrew led the onslaught from the air with 56- and 59-yard touchdown passes, respectively, to WR Mikey Dudek. The Wildcats led 42-0 with 4:07 left in the first half.
The Mustangs and quarterback Blaise Bell refused to give in and took advantage of the offensive and defensive substitution with two quick touchdowns to close before halftime and avoid the running clock.
Bell would lead the Mustangs to three more second-half touchdowns. They got as close as 52-32 with 2:27 remaining, but the Wildcats responded on the ensuing kickoff with a 99-yard touchdown return by Rhattigan to put the score at 59-32 and end any hopes of a miraculous comeback.
Patch’s MVP: Joey Rhattigan, Neuqua Valley. He set the tone early for the Wildcats, scoring twice in the first three minutes. He capped off the Wildcats’ night with a 99-yard kickoff return for his third touchdown. He had eight carries for 123 yards.
Neuqua Valley Stat Pack: WR Mikey Dudek had three receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns. RB TJ Scruggs had ten carries for 95 yards and a touchdown. Defensive end Tyler Speich had three first-half sacks.
Metea Valley Stat Pack: QB Blaise Bell had a strong night, going 21-of-34 passing for 298 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Receiver Blaze Miller had nine receptions for 108 yards and receiver Alex Hagemaster had five receptions for 111 yards.
Quotable I: Neuqua Valley head coach Bill Ellinghaus: “It was a weird game. We came out fast and real aggressive and the kids played hard and fast and physical tonight.”
Quotable II: Neuqua Valley defensive end Tyler Speich: “Our defense is all in no matter what. We went out and played real hard.”
Team Records: Neuqua Valley is 6-0 and 3-0 in the Upstate Eight Valley Conference. Metea Valley falls to 1-5 and 0-4 in the Upstate Eight.
What’s Next: The Wildcats play at unbeaten Waubonsie Valley on October 5 at North Central College in Naperville. The Mustangs host East Aurora on October 5.
Scores of Interest: Waubonsie Valley defeated South Elgin 35-20. For more scores, go to IHSA ScoreZone.