Naperville Central offense can't be stopped

By Phil Brozynski
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/8/2017 11:54 PM

Once the talk subsided and the game started, there really wasn't much to say.

Naperville Central quarterback Payton Thorne threw 3 touchdown passes to three receivers and ran for two more scores, and reserve running back junior Danny Hughes added 108 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries as Naperville Central beat Metea Valley 55-7 Friday in Naperville.

Thorne, who transferred from Metea Valley during the summer along with wideout Jayden Reed, completed 12 of 16 passes for 173 yards against his former mates.

"We were just trying to treat it like any other game," Thorne said. "Jayden and I prepared for it like any other game and just wanted to take care of business."

Thorne did not make an impact until Naperville Central's second possession. The Redhawks' opening drive featured Hughes, who accounted for all 32 yards following a short Metea Valley punt.

"I knew last weekend (I was going to start)," said Hughes, who subbed for the injured A.J. Deinhart. "They told me I was going to be the man and I expected to get the ball that often. We wanted to run the ball more and we ran the ball a lot. The holes were huge. It was great. Just great."

Naperville Central (3-0, 3-0 DuPage Valley Conference) scored on all nine of its possessions.

After Hughes got the hosts on the board with a 3-yard run, Thorne found Tommy Coyne from 10 yards out, scored on a 3-yard draw, connected with Reed on a 21-yard pass and added a 2-yard run before Hughes closed the first-half scoring with a 21-yard gallop.

"Everyone knew the situation," Naperville Central coach Mike Stine said. "We talked about it all week. I'm not sure you can avoid it. There was probably some extra energy, some extra animosity, but once the game started I thought both teams played extremely hard."

Stine said he wanted to emphasize the run after the Redhawks relied predominately on Thorne's arm during the team's first two victories.

"I thought Danny and Tony (Antrobus) both ran really well," he said. "We only had about 70, 80 yards rushing the first two weeks, but we also had a lot of bubble screens and we count those as runs. We made it an emphasis all week on our guys up front. We wanted to see if we had that dimension."

Antrobus closed the scoring on a 6-yard dash with a running clock in the fourth quarter.

Metea Valley (0-3, 0-3) scored on a 59-yard pass from receiver Michael Brown to fellow wideout Keven Dasilva midway through the second quarter.

Next up for the Redhawks is Waubonsie Valley, which features Reed's cousin at safety. 

"That's going to be feisty," Reed said. "But I'll treat it as a regular game also. I want to go out there and get a win. We'll talk during the week. Tough love. Then we'll go out there and try to make each other better."

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