Metea Valley's first home win as a varsity program was accomplished by doing what the Mustangs do best: running the football.
Behind 224 yards rushing, including 119 from junior Cameron Wilcox and 103 from senior Tre'Sean Mackey, Metea Valley used a second-half surge to top downstate Quincy 31-7 Friday night.
The Mustangs stuck to the game plan of running the football and wearing down a team that traveled almost six hours by bus to get to Aurora on Friday.
"Our goal in the first half was to try and get (Quincy) to run sideline to sideline with their two-way players and try and wear them out a little bit," Metea Valley coach Ted Monken said. "At halftime I told the coaches that we're not changing a thing. We're going to run the ball."
The Mustangs had to bounce back from some early game adversity. A fumble by Cameron Wilcox on Metea Valley's first possession gave the ball back to Quincy at the Metea 49-yard line.
From there Quincy (1-1) managed an 8-play, 49-yard drive that ended in a 2-yard touchdown run by Michael Davis and a 7-0 lead for the visitors.
The Mustangs (2-0) answered right back on the ensuing possession with a 7-play, 50-yard drive set up by a 45-yard kickoff return by Alex Hagemaster. The drive ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Wilcox, tying the game 7-7 with just one second left in the first quarter.
"At first I was down because of the fumble," Wilcox said. "But my coaches and teammates picked me up and the linemen did their jobs."
Metea Valley tried to answer with another score just before halftime, but an interception by Quincy's Jordan Zanger off a Jarrett House pass stalled the Mustangs' final drive of the half.
A 37-yard return by Hagemaster started the second half for the Mustangs. However, on the ensuing drive, a 6-yard touchdown run by Wilcox was called back because of a false start and an 11-yard TD pass from House to Zach Wood two plays later was negated by a block-in-the-back penalty. Metea Valley had to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Wood. However, the drive ate up nearly eight minutes of crucial time on the clock.
"We started out with a seven-and-a-half minute drive to start the second half. Our defense was loving it. They were sitting on the sidelines having tea and crumpets," Monken said.
The long rest paid dividends as the Mustangs defense capitalized on some sloppy ball-handling by Quincy. Terry Campbell recovered a Quincy fumble at the Metea Valley 38, stalling the Blue Devils' only drive of the third quarter.
On Quincy's next possession, quarterback Conner Kelle fumbled the center snap and the ball was recovered by Metea's Connor Mellor at the Quincy 27-yard line.
Two plays later, Wilcox scampered 26 yards down the left sideline for his second of three touchdown runs and a 17-7 lead.
After a turnover on downs on Quincy's next possession, Wilcox found the end zone for the final time on a 41-yard run.
Chase Nelson ended the scoring for Metea Valley on a 6-yard run with 45 seconds left to end the Mustangs' run of 31 unanswered points.