NAPERVILLE — Wouldn’t we all love to have these types of “off nights?”
Naperville North senior kicker David Olano was not at his best, according to coach Sean Drendel, and this led to the talented place-kicker missing a pair of long fields goals that would have broken Huskies school records. He also left one of his six kickoffs outside the end zone in Naperville North’s 38-21 win over visiting DeKalb Friday night.
Even so, it was a 34-yard field goal with 2:59 left to play that increased the lead to 31-21 and sealed the Huskies’ fourth win in five games this fall. Oh, and the five touchbacks on six kickoffs didn’t hurt matters any.
“He’s a little banged up,” Drendel said. “Obviously, we attempted two 50-yarders. If he wasn’t hurt he makes those. And he had one kickoff that didn’t make it into the end zone so we know he’s not 100 percent. But then that last one was huge.”
The late field goal ended the Barbs’ hopes of a late comeback and dropped the visitors to 3-2 on the year and 1-1 in the DuPage Valley Conference.
The game started well for the Barbs. Talen Tate broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. But Naperville North quarterback Aidan Gray took over the game from there, answering with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Luke Williams and then commanding an 18-play, 99-yard drive capped off by a 5-yard scoring pass to Luke Pettaway for a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Before the night was over, Gray had passed for 277 yards and four scores, with Luke Williams making six grabs for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
“I saw a lot of good things. I’m proud of my guys,” Barbs coach Derek Schneeman said. “There are no moral victories but you’ve got to tip your cap to that kid going to Northwestern (Gray). He’s a phenomenal player and Luke Williams made some plays there as well. Their big-time players made big-time plays when they needed them to.”
Tate finished with 114 yards on just eight carries, while Jamari Brown added 49 yards and had a pair of touchdown runs.
Drendel liked the way his defense rebounded from the quick score by the Barbs, and by the way the team rebounded from last week’s loss to Neuqua.
“I think our defense played awesome. They did a lot of good things after that one play. They really got after it. They showed a little more heart and emotion than I’ve seen in games. I’m really happy with our rebound and we have a big game next week (against Naperville Central),” he said.