by Griffin Hardy
The Wheaton North Falcons football team seen in the 2nd half of today’s round 2 playoff football game against the Boylan Catholic Titans of Rockford was a stark contrast to the team seen in the 1st half. This halftime adjustment was not enough for Wheaton North, however, as they fell 37-20 to Boylan.
Wheaton North came out playing in a sluggish and ineffective manner from the beginning of the contest, going 3 and out on their very first possession.Following Wheaton North’s punt, Boylan quarterback Lamont Toney quickly scored on a 30-yard scamper that was set up by a 13-yard blast by running back DeMarcus Vines. Before even 2 minutes had expired in the game, the Titans were up 7-0.
Wheaton North’s following possession ended in the same manner as their first drive – with a punt. Boylan took over and began swiftly moving downfield. The Titans’ momentum came to a grinding halt when Falcon defensive lineman Jonathan Chapman intercepted a pass from Toney. Wheaton North took advtange of this mistake and pushed all the way to the Boylan 20 yard line. Facing a 4th & 12 situation, Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski opted to go for it. A pass from Wheaton North quarterback Johnny Peltz intended for wide receiver Micah Penn fell incomplete and Boylan took possession of the ball again.
While Boylan was unable to reach the endzone on the next drive, the Titans were able to put some points on the board. Boylan placekicker Sean Slattery kicked a 40-yard field goal to put Boylan further ahead with a lead of 10-0.
The teams traded punts in the early minutes of the 2nd quarter. That changed when Wheaton receiver Johnny Daniels fumbled the ball and Boylan recovered it on the Wheaton North 33 yard line. Soon thereafter, Boylan running back Tyreis Thomas set up a Titan touchdown by running to the 4 yard line while defenders seemingly bounced off of him. With the subsequent touchdown, Boylan took a 17-0 lead with about 5 minutes left to play in the half.
Thomas remained dominant in the next Titan drive, which followed a Wheaton North punt. Thomas took a handoff off-tackle and gained 50 yards, putting Boylan on the Falcon 4 yard line once again. It was Thomas who walked into the endzone on the next play, increasing the margin to 23-0.
Wheaton North finally got their offense working with 2 minutes left to play before halftime. Penn caught several passes, moving the Falcons downfield in a hurry. It was Daniels who put Wheaton North on the board, catching a 7-yard touchdown pass with a little over 1 minute left.
Boylan kick returner Peter Cimino found a hole on the ensuing kickoff and returned the ball to the Wheaton North 33 yard line. With 10 seconds remaining in the half, Boylan attempted a field goal. The kick was missed and the clocked expired, leaving the Titans with a 23-7 halftime lead.
After the halftime break, the Falcons came back refreshed and energized. Gone was the lackluster perfomance seen in the 1st half.
Boylan started the 2nd half on offense, but was quickly and effecitvely stopped by the Wheaton North defense. The ball was handed off to Cimino on 4th & 1 and Cimino pulled back as if to throw a halfback pass, but he was tackled for a loss before he could get the ball off.
Boylan’s next possession was mired with holding penalties. The Titans faced 3 & 26 and were unable to convert, forcing them to punt the ball away.
Wheaton North made quick work of their next drive, scoring in just two plays. After a short rush, Peltz threw a pass to Penn who ran 71 yards for a touchdown. The Falcons suddenly found themselves within range with the margin at 23-13.
It appeared that the Falcons would have another shot on offense in the 3rd quarter when Boylan was forced to punt with 2:23 remaining in the quarter. However, the punt bounced off of Johnny Daniels and Boylan recovered the ball. Tyreis Thomas would go on to score on a 54-yard rush a few plays after the fumble recovery.
Facing a 30-13 deficit, Wheaton North began an offensive drive as the game entered into the 4th quarter. The Falcons used their passing attack to move swiftly down the field, eventually scoring when sophomore receiver Matt Biegalski caught a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Finding the Falcons too close for comfort, Boylan scored once more, this time on a short pass to Thomas that was taken about 50 yards for a touchdown. The score was 37-20 with just 5:29 left in the game.
Finding themselves three touchdowns down, Wheaton North successfully converted three 3rd downs, eventually putting the Falcons on the 5 yard line. On the fourth 3rd down of the possession, Peltz rolled out and passed to Biegalski. The pass was tipped and intercepted by Cimino.
The teams traded punts, and Boylan eventually kneeled the game out. Wheaton North finishes the season with a record of 8-3. Boylan will move on to play Crystal Lake South in next week’s quarterfinal game.