||More Sports||Sign up||School Finder|
East Aurora continued its arduous journey through the Upstate Eight Valley in Naperville on Friday, and Neuqua Valley capitalized on almost every Tomcat mistake en route to a 48-0 victory.
East was in a hole immediately when a direct snap to running back Jamaria Littleton sailed into Tomcat end zone and was eventually covered by Tyler Speich for the Wildcats’ first score.
Four minutes later, East quarterback David Fonseca was off target and Brad Thompson was there for the pick. On its second offensive snap, Neuqua QB Dylan Andrew hit Mikey Dudek for a 30-yard touchdown strike and a quick 14-0 lead for the Wildcats.
“We run that play a lot in practice, it’s the out, and it seemed to work tonight,” said Dudek, who had three catches for 93 yards. “Our ‘O’ line did a great job blocking, Dylan hit me and the other receivers were downfield blocking. It worked out perfect.”
Still in the first quarter, Ernest Edwards grabbed Neuqua’s second interception, and the Wildcats traversed 86 yards in eight plays to increase the margin to 21-0. Joey Rhattigan (eight rushes for 88 yards, all in the first half) finished the drive with a 30-yard run.
East had what may have been its best drive of the season when it marched 61 yards to the Neuqua 4-yard line early in the second quarter, but then failed to complete a fourth down pass in the end zone. Desmond Gant had a 19-yard reception, and Fonseca added a 33-yard scamper during the march.
All Neuqua then did was execute a 96-yard drive which was completed on a 1-yard run by Rhattigan, and the Wildcats led 28-0 at the intermission.
“I think we gave a great defensive effort in the first half,” said Speich, who had eight tackles and was followed closely by Sam Norgaard with seven. “Everybody got their opportunity to get our there and work hard and play hard.”
Dudek put the game out of reach by returning the second half kickoff up the middle for 84 yards to increase the margin to 35-0.
“Our coaches drill in our heads that special teams are a main aspect of the game that a lot of teams overlook, so we spend a lot of time working on them,” Dudek said. “It’s really paying off for us.”
After a bad snap on a punt attempt by East Aurora in the third, TJ Scruggs scored on a 4-yard run for Neuqua. Nolan Dean added the Wildcats’ final points on a 20-yard run late in the fourth.
“We have great leaders in this group.” said Neuqua Valley coach Bill Ellinghaus, whose team is now 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the UEC Valley. “It’s about their work ethic. That’s what really has separated this team from others I have been with.”