Breaking It Down: Take care of the football and capitalize on your opponent's mistakes—that's how teams win football games. That's exactly what did Friday night again Naperville North, blocking a punt, recovering a fumble for a touchdown and not turning the ball over once. The Wildcats notched the blocked punt and fumble recovery back to back Huskies drives in the first quarter to jump out to an early 20-7 lead on Naperville North's senior night, they would never look back.
From there, it was a heavy dose of running back tandem Joey Rhattigan, two touchdowns on the night, and Branden Fatla that sealed the game. The duo combined for more than 190 yards rushing and helped the Wildcats eat the clock late in the game.
Patch’s MVP: Joey Rhattigan, 162 yards, 2 touchdowns. The big, bruising back thumped his way through the Huskies defense all night, dragging would-be tacklers along for a ride before hitting the turf every time he touched the ball. His old-school, ground-churning style kept the Wildcats' offense humming.
Neuqua Valley Stat Pack: Mikey Dudek, wide receiver, 101 yards receiving, TD, blocked punt. Dylan Andrew, quarterback, 12-for-14, 187 yards, TD, one rushing TD. Nolan Dean, fumble recovery, 55-yard return, TD, one sack.
Naperville North Stat Pack: Johnny Brown, quarterback, 203 yards passing, TD. DeSean Brown, 119 yards receiving, TD, and 62 yards rushing. Kendall Veluvolu, rushing TD.
Quotable I: “We've been working on that a lot in practice, coach told me I had the speed to get it. They've been working with me on that a lot, I just got a good start on it and just got there.” - Mikey Dudek, on his blocked punt that was the turning point of the game.
Quotable II: “Obviously you can't have a punt blocked and have a fumble returned for a touchdown and hope to win the game. … We just didn't put enough points on the board and short ourselves in the foot a little bit.” - Naperville North coach Sean Drendel
Team Records: Neuqua Valley, 1-0, 0-0 in conference play. Naperville North, 1-0, 0-0 in conference play.
What’s Next: Neuqua Valley plays Naperville Central at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at home. Naperville North hits the road to take on Thornton at 1 p.m. On Sept. 1.
Scores of Interest: West Aurora over Aurora East 59-19, Wabonsie Valley over Naperville Central, 34-14. .