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Football: Neuqua Valley Tops Naperville Central, Starts Season 2-0

Neuqua Valley 41, Naperville Central 28: Once again, the Wildcats got the job done on the ground, through the air and on special teams. The Wildcats' 2-0 start is the first in school history.

Breaking It Down: After falling behind early to the Naperville Central Redhawks, 7-0, Neuqua Valley turned to ground mover Joey Rhattigan and quarterback Dylan Andrew to spark the offense in a 41-28 victory on Friday night. The duo accounted for five touchdowns, with Rhattigan notching three on the ground and Andrew tossing two through the air.

The Wildcats' defense held the Redhawks in check until the game was well out of reach, while the special teams got a spark from Joshua Prescher, who took a kickoff all the way to the paint to close the door on Central's second-half comeback attempt.

Patch's MVP: Dylan Andrew, quarterback, Neuqua Valley. The senior had his coming out party against the Redhawks, tossing two touchdowns in a winning effort. Andrew found his receivers often and spread the wealth, hitting five different targets throughout the night. 

With Andrew under center and Rhattigan behind him, the Wildcats backfield is certainly one not to be trifled with.

Neuqua Valley Stat Pack: Rhattigan piled up 256 yards on 25 carries, with the three scores; Andrew passed for 131 yards, with two scores and no picks. On defense, Nolan Dean and Dennis Thurow were stalwarts.

Naperville Central Stat Pack: Jake Kolbe threw for 215 yards on 22-of-36 passing, with one touchdown. Nick Thomas had 19 carries for 80 yards and  two touchdowns. Jimmy Nashert had two touchdowns, one receiving and one on a punt return.

Quotable I: “When you make history, it's always a good feeling. Our coaches were really sticking it to us, telling us, 'Neuqua's never done this before.' And we went out there and did our thing.” —Joshua Prescher, Neuqua Valley, on his team opening the season 2-0 for the first time in school history.

Quotable II: “Every time we scored, they had a couple big plays. They're a good football team and that's what good football teams do.” —Naperville Central coach Mike Stine on Neuqua's game-changing performances.

Team Records: Neuqua Valley improves to 2-0, while Naperville Central falls to 0-2.

What’s Next: Neuqua Valley takes on South Elgin on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 1:30 p.m. at South Elgin, while Naperville Central hits the road to play Glenbard East on Friday, Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Scores of Interest: Lake Park 49, Glenbard East 20; Bartlett 45, Elgin 7. For more scores, check out the IHSA ScoreZone.

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