Huntley coach Matt Gehrig made a change earlier in the week to step aside from his two-platoon philosophy, and started playing his kids both ways in hopes it would change the Red Raiders' fortune.
One who was on double duty was defensive linemen Jordan Hyatt, who stepped into a fullback role Friday night. And at least for the time being, Hyatt's first rushing attempts were a success.
The stocky Hyatt muscled his way through the Thunder (0-2) defense for 2 touchdowns and 45 yards in Huntley's 20-7 Fox Valley Conference crossover victory over Woodstock North. The win gave Huntley its first of the year while Gehrig grabbed his first as a Huntley head coach.
"We started to put our pads down," Hyatt said. "Every O-linemen came out of their stance low. They were ready to go tonight."
"Jordan's been working hard this season and I wanted to make a just slight adjustment to the offense and he stepped up and had a hard week of practice," said Gehrig. "Him and the rest of the offense did a nice job of coming out executing our run game in the middle and played as hard as they could, which is what I am the most pleased with."
Gehrig may not be pleased with the penalties. Huntley committed 11 for 118 yards. Most importantly, they occurred in a sequence when the Red Raiders (1-2) could have sealed the game in the second quarter.
In that sequence, Chris Cunningham's 56-yard run to the goal line was washed away by a block down field. Later that drive, Nicholas Kostalek was called for offensive pass interference. What could have been a two-touchdown lead ended up to a turnover on downs. The Red Raiders wasted a golden opportunity let alone looked rattled with 6 minutes left in the first half.
"When they do something well on a play and it gets negated by a penalty, they want so bad to go back and be able to get the that back, I think the main thing is that they need to focus at the fact that the next play is all that matters," Gehrig said.
So what did the Red Raiders ended up doing? They recovered a fumble on North's next drive. It led to Hyatt's 2-yard run with 17 seconds left to go, going up 14-0.
Huntley was rather frugal on defense. North only amassed just 71 total yards and racked up just 4 rushing yards on 22 attempts. Frank Recchia made the defense look that much better with 2 interceptions. Cunningham (12 carries, 64 yards) added a 58-yard touchdown run on Huntley's first drive of the game. With Cunningham, Hyatt and a slew of runners, it gave quarterback Tim Lycos rather a rest since he's been Huntley's leading rusher with 166 yards and 3 touchdowns this season.
"It's the first time running the I-formation this season," Lycos said. "And it looked good. Anything for a win."
Woodstock North's Mike Solano recovered a fumble in the end zone late in the fourth quarter for the Thunder's only score.