Valparaiso jumped out to a 13-0 lead and held on late for a 13-7 victory over Aurora on Saturday afternoon in Aurora, Ill. as the Crusaders snapped a three-game losing streak.
With the win, the Crusaders finish the 2005 season with a 3-8 mark. Aurora sees its season end with a 5-5 record.
The Crusaders kept the ball on the ground during their opening possession, running 11 times on the 12-play drive. Sal Washington (East Saint Louis, Ill./Prospect H.S.) capped off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run with 4:52 remaining in the opening quarter. For the senior, it was his second score of the season and third of his career.
Valpo added three points early in the second quarter on an Andrew McCawley (Omaha, Neb./Creighton Prep H.S.) 34-yard field goal into a stiff wind, capping another 11-play drive, nine of which were on the ground and the Crusaders took a 10-0 lead into the locker room.
The Brown and Gold's defense was solid in the first stanza, limiting the Spartans to just two total yards of offense in the opening half. Aurora rushed 15 times for -5 yards in the half.
In the first drive of the second half, Valpo rushed nine times, with the only pass a third-and-22 from Warren Arnold (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) to Steve Ogden (Wauwatosa, Wis./West H.S.). McCawley ended the drive with a 28-yard field goal to increase Valpo's lead to 13-0.
Aurora answered with 8:23 left in the third as Andrew Hornung connected with Joe Folliard from ten yards out for a touchdown to close within 13-7. The drive was set up by a 40-yard completion from Hornung to Kevin Rynne down to the Crusader ten.
Heavy rains began late in the third quarter. With just over three minutes remaining, the Crusaders had an opportunity to seal the game, but a 38-yard McCawley field goal missed left in the driving storm.
Aurora took over with 3:18 remaining at the Spartans' 21 yard-line. The Spartans moved the ball down field to the Crusader eight, setting up a first and goal with less than a minute to play. Hornung's pass into the end zone was intercepted by Josh Bintzler (Sheboygan, Wis./Lutheran H.S.) to secure the Valpo victory. The pick was the freshman's second of the day.
Jeff Horton (Saint Louis, Mo./Lutheran North H.S.) finished the game with 30 carries for 186 yards for the Crusaders while Valpo tallied 315 total yards of offense. The Spartans finished with 187 total yards, but just 16 on the ground. Hornung finished 16-of-30 for 171 yards for Aurora.
Valpo's defense, led by Bintzler and Brandon Sturman (Brookeville, Md./Sherwood H.S.) registered nine tackles for loss on the day. In addition to his two interceptions, Bintzler recorded seven tackles, as did Sturman.