ST. CHARLES – What a difference a year makes.
This time, they grabbed an early 14-point lead and rolled to a 35-20 DuKane Conference victory Sept. 9 in St. Charles.
Senior quarterback Will Vaske threw two touchdowns to Jake Furtney and ran for another and workhorse Drew Surges ran for two scores for the North Stars (2-1, 1-0).
Vaske was efficient, completing 15-of-20 passes for 223 yards. He connected with Furtney on touchdowns of seven and 53 yards in the second half.
“I was trusting my guys. We’ve got a lot of athletes on this team,” Vaske said. “Just going through my progressions. Our coaches made it clear for us, simmering it down to just a few things that I had to keep an eye out for, and other than that things went pretty smooth. All the preparation paid off.”
Jake Mettetal was Vaske’s favorite receiver on the night, hauling in seven balls for 75 yards including key grabs to keep drives going.
“He’s my guy,” Vaske said. “We’ve been friends for a while. We’ve got a special bond. We kind of think on the same page and he’s played the quarterback position as well, so he’s got that perspective and we connect on that level.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the North Stars struck twice in a span of less than three minutes. After Vaske’s 6-yard run put St. Charles North ahead, the defense forced a three-and-out and the North Stars got the ball back in good field position. Sturges did the rest. He hauled in a 34-yard strike from Vaske, then covered the last three yards on the ground.
The Tigers got on the board just before halftime when Luca Carbonaro hit Braylen Meredith with a 13-yarder.
Furtney’s first touchdown catch and Sturges’ second TD run put the North Stars ahead 28-7 after three quarters.
The Carbonaro effect paid dividends for WW South. He led two fourth-quarter scoring drives to keep the Tigers in the game. Jake Vozza and Matthew Crider had short scoring runs to finish off the drives.
After completing just 5-of-9 passes in the first half, Carbonaro heated up after the break. He hit on seven of his first eight second-half pass attempts and finished the night 16 of 23 for 122 yards. Meredith led the way with seven catches.
But the Tigers’ running game could never get off the ground. WW South finished with just 64 yards on 30 carries. Vozza had 46 yards on nine carries for the Tigers (1-2, 0-1).
After Crider’s run made it 28-14 in the fourth quarter, Vaske’s longest completion of the night, a 53-yarder to Furtney for a score, gave the North Stars some breathing room.