Friday, October 17, 2014

There is one other game tonight...

...that you should be aware of, especially if you live in the western suburbs: Waubonsie Valley (6-1) at Neuqua Valley (5-2) at North Central College, above, in beautiful downtown Naperville. I've never been to this great Upstate Eight rivalry, mostly because they usually sell out long before game time. I'm not sure if tonight's game will be as good as some in the past, but if you're lucky enough to get a ticket, you should be in for a great contest.

Remember that 2012 tilt, in which Neuqua bested Waubonsie, 35-34, in overtime? But that was another era, when colossi -- like Austin Guido, Joey Rhattigan, Dylan Andrew and Mikey Dudek -- bestrode the earth (or at least DuPage, Will and Kane Counties).

This year, the Warriors of Waubonsie Valley are ranked No. 19 in MaxPreps and have beaten three winning teams: Naperville Central (6-1), Oswego (6-1) and Metea Valley (4-3). Their only loss was last week to West Aurora (2-5) in double overtime. Was Coach Paul Murphy's squad looking ahead to this week?

Here's Waubonsie's schedule so far (home team in CAPS):

WAUBONSIE 20, Naperville Central 6
Waubonsie 27, OSWEGO 20
WAUBONSIE 49, Aurora East 6
Waubonsie 49, BARTLETT 7
Waubonsie 28, GLENBARD EAST 27
WAUBONSIE 38, Metea Valley 37
West Aurora 27, WAUBONSIE 24 (2 OT)

Neuqua, despite its 5-2 record, is ranked No. 23 in the Sun-Times but only No. 65 in MaxPreps. Go figure. The Naperville squad opened the season with two losses before crushing their next five opponents by a combined score of 241-119. Neuqua split with the two winning teams it's faced this year, losing to Naperville Central (6-1) and besting South Elgin (4-3).

Here's their full schedule:

Naperville Central 19, NEUQUA 0
Neuqua 20, GLENBARD EAST 6
Neuqua 50, SOUTH ELGIN 28
NEUQUA 69, Aurora East 21
Neuqua 48, WEST AURORA 35
NEUQUA 54, Bartlett 29

And over the last ten years, Neuqua has prevailed in eight of the eleven matchups:

2013: NEUQUA 40, Waubonsie 25
2012: NEUQUA 35, Waubonsie 34 (OT)
           NEUQUA 23, Waubonsie 20
2011: WAUBONSIE 27, Neuqua 21
2010: NEUQUA 43, Waubonsie 6
2009: Neuqua 28, WAUBONSIE 7
2008: Waubonsie 28, NEUQUA 26
2007: WAUBONSIE 10, Neuqua 6
2006: NEUQUA 25, Waubonsie 6
2005: Neuqua 22, Waubonsie 3
2004: Neuqua 63, Waubonsie 21

What's going to happen tonight? While Neuqua is on a roll, Waubonsie is suspect. The Warriors won two close games recently against a pair of middling teams but stumbled last week against a program that entered the contest 1-5. (How did these guys beat Naperville Central and Oswego?)

Even though Neuqua is probably playoff-eligible already, I'm sure Coach Bill Ellinghaus would like to win out this week and next against Metea.

Advantage: Neuqua. But look for a hard-fought battle!

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