Falcon Football Team for the Win!
By: Amy Boehm
The excitement coursing through Wheaton hasn’t been felt since 1986, the last time Wheaton North won the football state championship.
After competing in one of the most difficult conferences in the state, the team had a 9:1 record going into playoffs. They continued to win game after game, and excitement came with each win. Coach Wardynski said, "It was amazing to see the school and community get behind the team as the crowds continued to grow as the season went along. He also said that the semi-final game against Brother Rice "brought the biggest crowd to Rexilius Field in decades." The team fought their way into the state championship at NIU stadium. Fans from all over came to support the Falcons in this endeavor, and the team’s attempts proved to be successful after they defeated St. Rita, historically known for having particularly impressive football teams, with a score of 35 to 6.
Throughout the game, the Mustangs hardly stood a chance. The Falcons scored the opening touchdown at the start of the second quarter, with the play made by Mark Forcucci and Seth Kortenhoeven, bringing the score up to 7-0 and giving North a lead that was never lost. According to senior player Casey Morrison, one of the hardest parts was not celebrating their victory too early and staying diligent well past halftime, despite the Falcons already being ahead 21-0. Also helping them to achieve this significant lead was senior Trent Gabriele, who picked up a fumbled ball to score a touchdown right as the buzzer went off to end the second quarter.
Once Wheaton North officially won the game, coaches, players, and supporters all celebrated to the same sort of crazed excitement. Gabriele says, “It was awesome to celebrate with teammates and win one for the community.” Joey Logan also agreed that it was “amazing [how] all the hard work paid off.” Coach Wardynski said that the team came to rely on "outstanding leadership" from captains Mark Forcucci and Ross Dansdill. Additionally, Forcucci’s final remarks for the team were: “Being a part of a football team, especially a championship team like this, is something that I wish everyone could be a part of. So I encourage people to play because it’s definitely worth it.” The excitement from this success will no doubt be carried through for the rest of the year and used as momentum for future football seasons.
The win is truly reason for celebration like no other. The Wheaton North Falcons will continue to pride themselves on their impressive work ethic and performances to achieve such a title. You can see the pride Coach Wardynski has in his closing thought about this season: "The comparisons to the previous state title teams of 1979, 1981 and 1986 have already begun."