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Wheaton North's Patrick Sharp (left) and John Peltz celebrate after a touchdown against visiting St. Charles East on Friday. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
St. Charles East coach Mike Fields had the accurate description for what happened to his team from the opening kickoff Friday night in a 41-13 Class 7A state playoff loss on the road to Wheaton North.
“I think when you come across a buzz saw like these guys, you see what the next level is like,” Fields said.
Wheaton North quarterback John Peltz connected on 16-of-21 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half, and staked his team to a 41-0 lead going into the locker room. The advantage brought along a running clock for the second half. Then the Falcons went to their second and third string in the second half.
“A whole other level,” Fields said of fifth-seeded North, which advances to play 13th-seeded Prospect, a 35-14 upset winner over fourth-seeded Glenbrook North.
The Falcons (9-1) outgained St. Charles East 303 yards to minus-5 in the first half, their defense held the Saints (6-4) without a first down until 9:30 remained in the game, and the Wheaton North offense got into the end zone the first six times it touched the football.
“Whether we’re the favorite or underdogs, we’re going to come out playing hard every week,” Peltz said. “Our offensive line did a great job tonight. And St. Charles East has a good defensive line. It’s just our O-line from tackle to tight end did the job all night.”
Peltz started the rout with his legs. On the Falcons’ third play from scrimmage, he took the read-option straight up behind right guard for a 22-yard touchdown run a minute and a half into the contest.
“I pulled the ball back and just saw a hole and cut back and scored,” he said. “Our receivers did a great job blocking downfield and making that happen.”
Peltz threw TD passes of 30 and 13 yards to Matt Biegalski, a 47-yarder to Clayton Thorson, and the Falcons got a 12-yard and 2-yard TD run from running back Patrick Sharp in the first half.
Sharp finished with 52 yards rushing on nine carries and Thorson had five catches for 96 yards.
“I knew coming in we would have our hands full, but that was the best football team we’ve seen all year,” said Fields, whose team also faced Cary-Grove, Geneva, Batavia and Neuqua Valley.
St. Charles East got its first score with 5:20 remaining when linebacker Brad Kearbey grabbed a fumble by backup running back Jimmy Harris out of the air and ran it back 42 yards. Jimmy Mitchell’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Zajicek with 37 seconds left accounted for the other score.
The Saints had only 69 yards of offense. Jonathan Chapman had two sacks for the Falcons.
“Our linebacker, Luke Sahly, does a great job with the run and we get the shutdowns with our defensive line that we need each week,” Chapman said. “We’re moving on and that’s the important thing.”
WHEATON NORTH 41, ST. CHARLES EAST 13
St. Charles East 0 0 0 13 -- 13
Wheaton North 14 27 0 0 -- 41
WN – John Peltz 22 run (Lake Bachar kick) 10:30, 1st
WN – Matt Biegalski 30 pass from Peltz (Bachar kick) 5:19, 1st
WN – Patrick Sharp 2 run (kick failed) 11:12, 2nd
WN – Biegalski 13 pass from Peltz (Bachar kick) 7:18, 2nd
WN – Sharp 12 run (Bachar kick) 4:04, 2nd
WN – Clayton Thorson 47 pass from Peltz (Bachar kick)
SCE – Brad Kearbey 42 run (David Knudsen kick) 5:20, 4th
SCE – Trevor Zajieck 39 pass from Jimmy Mitchell (kick blocked) :37, 4th
Team stats SCE WN
First downs 3 14
Comp.-att.-int. 5-15-1 17-22-0
Passing yards 56 232
Rushing att.-yards 18-13 21-92
Total yards 69 324
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties 4-30 6-44
St. Charles East – Joe Hoscheit 3-10, Erik Anderson 8-10, Anthony Sciarrino 1-(minus)1, Mitchell 4-(minus)22, Chris Segrette 2-16.
Wheaton North – Sharp 9-52, Peltz 1-22, Dee Alexander 2-2, Dom Garza 3-(minus)1, Jimmy Harris 3-12, Ryan Thomas 3-5.
St. Charles East – Mitchell 5-15-1-56.
Wheaton North – Peltz 16-21-0-225, Jimmy Pullia 1-2-0-7.
St. Charles East – Anderson 1-0, Matt Allen 1-0, Hoscheit 1-5, Zajieck 1-39, Sciarrino 1-12.
Wheaton North – Tom Colletti 5-41, Thorson 5-96, Nate Annen 1-18, Sharp 2-20, Biegalski 3-50, Hank Bowen 1-7.