HARVEY -- Naperville North has a passing game. Quarterback Johnny Brown insists the Huskies can wing it.
Only once did Brown throw on Saturday against Thornton Township, and that pass was wiped out by a penalty. No matter, for the Huskies ran rampant over the Wildcats, Brown leading the way with 2 touchdowns and 122 of Naperville North's 370 rushing yards in their 34-20 victory.
Brown had company in the person of running back DeSean Brown, who ran for 3 touchdowns and 118 yards. The combination of Brown and Brown running behind a mammoth offensive line playing a no-huddle game in the remains of Hurricane Isaac made the difference.
"We were a lot better than last week, got after it more," said Colin Goebel, one of those linemen who cleared the right side all afternoon. "They definitely got more tired than us, and that's why we kept going hurry-up."
Thornton coach Bill Mosel, whose crack defensive backs never had a chance to show their stuff, was in no position to argue.
"Their offensive line handled us," Mosel said. "There's no other way to put it. They were going to try to keep the ball away from us, keep our skill off the field."
Naperville North's first drive was the indicator, 18 rushes in as many snaps, culminating with Johnny Brown's 2-yard plunge over the middle for the opening touchdown.
It was 13-0 before the end of the quarter, this time via a 5-yard dash by Johnny Brown. When Thornton's Jerome Jenkins, a senior lineman with Division I potential, was lost with an injury to his left leg on the final play of the quarter, things went from bad to worse for the Wildcats (1-1). His status for next week's SouthWest Suburban Red opener at Bradley-Bourbonnais is unknown.
Naperville North (1-1) answered Thornton's lone first half score -- an 18-yard pass from JoWaun Brown to Jauan Wesley -- with the first of DeSean Brown's 3 touchdowns, a 10-yard bolt off right tackle.
"We responded to last week's loss," DeSean Brown said. "And my line, I was thanking them on every play, trying to keep them up and confident."
DeSean Brown would also score from 1 and 7 yards out in the third quarter, the first score on a drive that commenced with James Doyle's interception of JoWaun Brown. That deflated the Wildcats.
"We just let down a little bit, kinda calmed down after that interception," said running back Jamal Towns, whose 38 rushing yards led Thornton. "We had to make a big play, and didn't."
The subs appeared after DeSean Brown's third touchdown, a group that included Thornton punt returner Tifonte Hunt, whose whirling 76-yard touchdown on a fourth-quarter return included three escapes from potential tacklers behind the point he caught the ball.
The Wildcats have six days to prepare for their SouthWest Suburban Red opener. That makes Labor Day a real labor day.
"This gets your attention, and now I'm going to get their attention," Mosel said.
For Naperville North, the result was a complete reversal from a 43-20 shellacking by Neuqua Valley last week, thought coach Sean Drendel.
"We talked about playing rock 'em, sock 'em football, and get after it up and do it up front," Drendel said. "They're good up front. But with grass and a little bit of mud, it was a little bit of throwback football today."