WHEATON – The St. Charles East football team might have a hard time believing Wheaton North could play any better than it did Friday, but quarterback John Peltz believes the Falcons can.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Peltz said after Wheaton North’s 41-13 victory over St. Charles East (6-4) in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.
“I feel like we could have been more patient on a couple pass plays and we could have taken advantage of what the defense gives us a little more. We’ll come out and we’ll have a better practice than last week.”
The Falcons (8-1) were nearly flawless in the first half, scoring every time they had the ball to roll to a 41-0 halftime lead.
Peltz scored Wheaton North’s first touchdown on a 22-yard option run less than two minutes into the game. He threw a pair of touchdown passes to Matt Biegalski, and Patrick Sharp ran for two more as the Falcons piled up 305 yards of offense in the opening half.
“Their offense is really good,” East linebacker Mike Candre said. “It’s hard to stop an offense like that – those quick passes. They got us a lot. We still played our hardest.”
The Wheaton North defense gave the offense plenty of opportunities to have the football, preventing the Saints from getting a first down until the fourth quarter. East had minus-3 yards of offense in the opening half.
“We came out with a little less intensity than we thought we would come out with,” East quarterback Jimmy Mitchell said. “To tell you the truth, I couldn’t really tell you what happened, like why we came out so flat.”
East coach Mike Fields pointed to a couple costly penalties that helped prevent the Saints from getting any momentum offensively.
“We had a 15-yard run that got called back,” he noted. “We had a little reverse pass that we ran. I think we got 40 yards on that. That got called back. You hate to see that. I don’t like to see those flags on the ground and influencing the game. [Wheaton North] just executed offensively. Holy moly – they’re good.”
The Saints finally got on the scoreboard with 5:20 left in the game when Brad Kearbey grabbed a fumble out of mid-air and raced 45 yards to the end zone.
East got another score with less than a minute to play on a 39-yard pass from Mitchell to Trevor Zajieck.
This was the second Upstate Eight Conference team Wheaton North played this season and the Falcons were even more impressive than they were in a 34-7 shellacking of Geneva (4-5) in the second week of the season.
Falcons receiver Clayton Thorson – who scored Wheaton North’s final touchdown on a 47-yard pass play – thought his team had made a statement with the way it played in the opening half.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I think 41 points in the first half is a big statement. I think we can always do better, like John said. It’ll be a fun week of practice.”
The Falcons will play Mount Prospect, a surprise victor over Glenbrook North, in the second round of the playoffs.
WHEATON NORTH 41, ST. CHARLES EAST 13
St. Charles East 0 0 0 13 – 13
Wheaton North 14 27 0 0 – 41
HOW THEY SCORED
WN – Peltz 22 run (Bachar kick), 10:31
WN – Biegalski 30 pass from Peltz (Bachar kick), 5:19
WN – Sharp 1 run (kick failed), 11:12
WN – Biegalski 13 pass from Peltz (Bachar kick), 7:18
WN – Sharp 12 run (Bachar kick), 4:04
WN – Thorson 47 pass from Peltz (Bachar kick), :28
SCE – Kearbey 45 fumble return (Knudsen kick), 5:20
SCE – Zajieck 39 pass from Mitchell (kick blocked), :37
RUSHING – St. Charles East: Anderson 8-10, Hoscheit 4-13, Mitchell 4-minus 23. Totals: 16-0. Wheaton North: Sharp 10-51, Alexander 2-2, Peltz 1-22, Pullia 3-4, Garza 4-2, Harris 3-12. Totals: 23-93.
PASSING – St. Charles East: Mitchell 5-16-1-70. Wheaton North: Peltz 16-21-0-224. Pullia 1-2-0-8.
RECEIVING – St. Charles East: Anderson 1-0, Barry 2-17, Hoscheit 1-3, Sciarrino 1-11, Zajieck 1-39. Wheaton North: Colletti 5-44, Thorson 5-92, Biegalski 3-51, Sharp 2-19, Annen 1-18, Bowen 1-8.
TOTAL YARDS – Wheaton North 325, St. Charles East 70.