It’s Over! Wheeling Ends 19-Game Losing Streak


Matthew Posner, Reporter

Sept. 21, 2018. The crowd cheers as the final horn sounds against school rival, Buffalo Grove, at a 14-10 victory for the Wheeling Wildcats. Since that day, the program has not recorded a single win, until now.

On Aug. 27, 2021, the Wildcats’ season began against the Round Lake

Panthers and their superstar Cristian Castro, senior. On the first offensive play of the game, Wheeling fumbled the ball, giving Round Lake an easy early touchdown. However, Joe Mitroi, senior at WHS, got it going offensively early in the second quarter, rushing the ball twice for 37 yards on the drive. 

Then, Simon Micula, junior, ran it in for the Wildcats’ first touchdown.

Shortly after a quick and poor offensive drive from Round Lake, Mitroi capitalized yet again, scoring a 35-yard TD with 4.4 seconds left before half. It was in that moment when the reality set in: the Wildcats had a chance. 

Mitroi’s dominance continued in the second half, grabbing a much-needed

interception in the 3rd quarter, which led to yet another Wheeling TD. The crowd was going wild, and as the 4th quarter began, only 12 minutes separated Wheeling and their first victory in three years. Round Lake took a bite out of the lead, however, scoring early in the 4th, as the deficit was cut to 20-15. 

Then, the highlight of the night occured. Brandon Roman, senior, spins and

trucks the defender for an unbelievable TD run, sealing the game for a shocking 27-15 victory for the Wheeling Wildcats.

“We wanted to prove to the rest of the MSL that we are no longer a doormat

that teams can just walk over. Every single night we are going to put up a fight and play lights-out football,” Keith Lundstrom, senior, said. 

Lundstrom was a heavy contributor on both sides of the ball as he helped aid

the Wildcats to their 1st victory since his freshman year. Peter Panagakis, head coach, did a phenomenal job in his first game as head coach, earning him the Chicago Bears Coach of the Week. 

“When the Daily Herald said we hadn’t won a game since 2018, it was an

eye-opener. This will be the first of many wins,” Panagakis said. “The Coach of the Week award from the Chicago Bears goes out to not only me, but the team and the school. It takes more than one person to win the game.”

Wheeling’s next 2 games are both on the road. First, on Sept. 3, the

Wildcats face Top-35 ranked Barrington, and then travel to Glenbrook North on Sept. 10.