Naperville - Number four seed Wheaton-Warrenville South avenging an earlier conference 21-14 loss to rival, and undefeated Naperville North, as they rode a solid ground game to a 26-10 victory in the class 8A playoffs, upsetting the number one seed Huskies in Naperville.
Sophomore Dan Dierking ran for 164 yards on 25 carries, scoring 2 touchdowns to lead the Tigers. Dierking himself capped off the scoring late in the fourth quarter by rushing four times for 61 yards in a four play drive and sealing the victory for the Tigers.
North's three year starter & senior standout quarterback Greg Wunderlich, threw 4 interceptions, including 2 which end up in the hands of senior safety Timothy Gerlesits, helping studdered the potent Huskie offense.
Naperville North got on the board first with the opening drive of the ball game, on an eleven play, 59 yard drive. Wunderlich completed 6 passes including a three yard pass to senior Zac Canty on 4th and three. Two plays later Wunderlich found senior Casey Weidenbacher on a screen pass and Weidenbacher rumbled down to the goal line before Wunderlich punched it in on the quarterback keeper.
Wheaton-Warrenville followed immediately with a eleven play scoring drive of their own, but after stalling at the Naperville North 19 yard line, the Tigers had to settle for a 36 yard field goal from senior Thomas Sarlina. The drive was set up by a 24 yard kickoff return from senior Graham Corcoran starting the Tigers at their own 45. The key play in the drive, a 27 yard pass from senior Daniel Burns to junior John Wolfe on third and 15 to the Huskie 11 yard line. Senior Huskie Kevin Wiersema sacked Burns to force a third and 18, and after an incomplete pass in the endzone, the Tigers settled for the field goal.
On Wheaton-Warrenville's next scoring drive, again a nice kick return set them up with outstanding field position. Gerlesits took the Huskie punt from his own 41 and ran it back to the Huskie 20 for a 39 yard return. The Tigers drove the ball to the Huskie 5 before settling for another field goal, again by Sarlina, to narrow the Huskie lead to 7-6.
Wheaton-Warrenville took the lead for good following another sputtered Huskie drive. The Tigers got the ball on their own 45 early in the second quarter, and facing a 4th and 9 from the Huskie 36, ran a fake punt to keep the drive alive.
Senior John Urbik received the snap and began running right before pitching to the punter, Gerlesits, who scampered down the sideline for 13 yards and a first down. Burns then connected with senior Andrew Gibson for a 9 yard touchdown pass to make the score 12-7. The PAT was blocked by senior Matt Feece of the Huskies.
Naperville North cut the lead to 2 with a 24 yard field goal by Canty late in the first half. However the Tigers got the ball back on their own 41 with 1:32 to play and one timeout. It took Wheaton-Warrenville 9 plays to travel 58 yards before Dierking scored from the 1 yard line with only 2 seconds left in the half. The PAT was good giving the Tigers a 19-10 half-time lead.
The second half was fairly academic as Wheaton-Warrenville's monster offensive line began to wear on the Huskie defense. Dierking gained 115 of his 164 yards in the third and fourth quarters including his previously mention self-contained 4 play scoring drive.
Wheaton-Warrenville South's next opponent is fellow DuPage Conference Valley member and longtime rival Naperville Central, making this the third conference opponent the Tigers have faced in the playoffs having previously beaten Glenbard North.
by Dave Creighton
Rushing: NN - Huggins, Brandon 9/29, Wunderlich, Greg 10/14, Wunderlich, Barry 1/0. WWS - Dierking, Dan 25/164 2TDS, Prignano, Anthony 14/48, Burns, Daniel 7/-6, Gerlesits, Timothy 1/13