Given the fact Huntley's football team was on a 3-game losing streak with losses by 7 points or less in each game, at some point the Red Raiders' Mt. St. Helen was bound to blow its lid.
That volcano of pressure reared its ugly head Friday and it was quite the show during and after in Huntley's 34-7 homecoming trouncing of Fox Valley Conference Valley Division foe Prairie Ridge, which put the Red Raiders back at the .500 mark as they earned their first division win of the year.
A homecoming fireworks show succeeded the win that could have matched any Fourth of July display, but Huntley (3-3, 1-2) didn't wait until late in the fourth quarter this time around to decide matters or light off any pyrotechnics.
Huntley cashed in on 4 of its 6 first half drives, putting up 28 points in the game's first 19 minutes. The Raiders did so in the air, on the ground and primarily through Blake Jacobs, who threw for 190 yards on 11 of 17 passes, which included 1 interception, 2 touchdown throws and a 75-yard touchdown run.
"We've got to win every single game on out to make the playoffs and I think we showed everyone who the real Huntley is. I think we're going to be a really hard team to beat," Jacobs said. "We came out and scored on the first 4 or 5 possessions which is really big but the whole O-line was amazing tonight. They did their job tonight. We definitely separated ourselves from the get-go."
The Red Raiders might want to look at practices earlier this week, which coach John Hart alluded to when the team really found its groove. And practicing better helped outgain PR (2-4, 1-3) 401-219.
"It really didn't come down to a last play in the last three weeks, we didn't play well, we didn't practice well," Hart said." This week, ironic as it is, on Wednesday we had the best practice of the year. And I told the kids I don't even want to look up at the scoreboard, I don't even care right now. We're going to win the football game because you're going to play like you did on Wednesday night and we did. We played hard, played downhill, we executed well. I'm really proud of them."
Josh Esikiel caught 7 balls for 107 yards, including a touchdown. Brandon Alterott hauled in 3 grabs for 132 yards and a score and Kyle Kesul had a 27-yard touchdown grab.
After sophomore Tim Ryan tackled PR's Colin Rempert on third down for a 7-yard loss on PR's first drive, Huntley received its first possession and 2 plays later Jacobs bolted down the right sideline for 75 yards for a 7-0 lead.
Two possessions later he found Kesul open for a 27-yard score to make it 14-0 late in the first quarter. Jacobs connected with Esikiel for a 9-yard pass to make it 21-0 with 10:10 left in the second quarter. On the very next Red Raiders possession, Huntley executed a halfback option pass to perfection, as Kesul found Altergott open down the left sideline for 79-yard touchdown, which blew the game wide open.
"The blocking was phenomenal," Kesul said. "When I got the ball, our first instinct was to throw it, when I threw the ball up I thought he wasn't was going to catch it and he ended up catching it. "
"This is what we're supposed to do from Week 1," Esikiel said. "But our coaches are 10 times harder on us. We came in on Monday, we knew what we had to do. Every day we didn't take a play off, Thursday we had a great practice and we knew what we had to do coming off those three games."
The run game was equally solid. Huntley ran for 175 yards, including 68 yards from Jacobs and 72 from Jake Scalise, but it was the big pass at the right times that did it.
"A lot of it came down to who started quick. They unfortunately got going, got some confidence, and it snowballed from there," Wolves coach Christ Schrempf said.
PR's leading rushers were quarterback Brett Covalt for 45 yards on 14 carries and Brent Anderson carried 7 times for 33 yards. Covalt only threw for 74 yards, as the Wolves were held to 3 first downs in the first half.