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Pettaways are new brother act for Naperville North football

Luke Pettaway felt a slightly eerie sensation on the visitors’ sideline at Waubonsie Valley on Friday night.

After starting at wide receiver for the Warriors for two years, Pettaway transferred to DuPage Valley Conference rival Naperville North with his younger brother Brock over the summer.

“It didn’t feel awkward or anything like that, just different,” Luke Pettaway said. “It’s just football. Coming to North has been great, and everybody has welcomed us with open arms. We’re just two new kids coming in.”

A 5-foot-11 sophomore, Brock Pettaway is an explosive and quick slot receiver for the Huskies (6-2, 3-2), who won 41-0 against Waubonsie Valley and finish the regular season against crosstown rival Naperville Central (6 -2, 4-1) on Thursday. Luke Pettaway, a 6-1 senior who can run the 40 in 4.5 seconds, works on the outside.

Brock Pettaway has 21 catches for 292 yards and three touchdowns this season. Luke Pettaway has 15 catches for 195 yards.

Brock Pettaway said having Luke with him eased the transition to the new school.

“With an older brother, Luke is just helping me out with life in general,” Brock Pettaway said. “He already has that familiarity with everything, and he understands what I am going through.”

Two brothers who are two years apart at Naperville North, the Pettaways resemble Zeke and Luke Williams.

Zeke Williams, a freshman at Northern Illinois, was a two-way star for the Huskies. Luke Williams, one of the most coveted juniors in Illinois, is the Huskies’ leader as a receiver, defensive back and kick returner.

“I was thinking about that the other day,” Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said. “Zeke and Luke are similar in their personalities. As the older brother, they are very protective of the younger brother and make sure everything goes OK.

“Brock, just like Luke Williams, is a really talented and gifted athlete. That part of his game just jumps out.”

Those are high standards. The Pettaway brothers are thrilled by the comparison.

“Zeke was a great player,” Luke Pettaway said. “I was in awe playing against him. North is now known for having these brothers playing receiver. It’s great to be compared to them.”

Family is also crucial to the Pettaways’ success. Their father Frank was a standout player at Wheaton North and also ran track there.

Their oldest brother, Myles, started at receiver for Waubonsie Valley and graduated in 2020.

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“Myles paved the way for me,” Luke Pettaway said. “I used to play running back. Brock also used to play running back. Myles got all of us to move over and shift to receiver. It’s great to have somebody to look for.”

Naperville North's Brock Pettaway, right, falls into the end zone after catching a pass for a touchdown against Cam'Ron Everette of St. Mary's Prep of Orchard Lake, Michigan, during a game in Naperville on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.

Brock Pettaway is eager to make his mark at Naperville North.

“I take a lot of pride in coming from a family of athletes,” he said. “They all took their own path, and now I look to make my own way.

“I am the most laid back. I definitely have the competitiveness and desire. I am a big fan of playing close games, going down to the wire and finding out who really wants it more.”

The Huskies, who have qualified for the Class 8A state playoffs, will try to avenge their 10-7 overtime loss to Naperville Central on Sept. 30 when the teams meet Thursday.

“We did not do our best execution-wise that game,” Luke Pettaway said. “Now we are getting another chance, and we get to see how much we have really grown the last couple of weeks.”

Patrick Z. McGavin is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.

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