Naperville Central piles up points vs. Naperville North

By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent

Naperville Central gave those gathered Friday night at North Central College's Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium for the second cross-town battle of the season a sneak preview of its potential on offense on the first drive of the game.

Then the feature presentation came when the Redhawks scored 37 of the first half's 44 points en route to a 50-21 victory against Naperville North. It was the Redhawks' second win over the Huskies this season.

"It's always a challenge to face a team twice a season, but our defense, our offensive line, our receivers all did a great job," said Redhawks quarterback Payton Thorne, who threw 3 touchdown passes. "I didn't have a good game, but everyone else did."

Naperville Central (4-2, 2-0 DuPage Valley Conference) started its first possession on the Naperville North 34-yard line thanks to a short punt. Two passes for 27 yards from Thorne to Cade McDonald advanced the drive, but a holding penalty and no yardage on two plays stalled it out. Kicker Dylan Greenhagen made good on a 35-yard field goal.

But then it was end zone for the rest of the night for the Redhawks.

The first of four touchdowns from Danny Hughes was a 3-yard pass from Thorne with 3:58 remaining in the opening quarter. Hughes ran for a 49-yard touchdown 16 seconds into the second quarter. He helped make it 24-0 on a 20-yard run with 8:47 left until halftime.

Two spectacular plays closed Naperville Central's scoring in the first half. Just over three minutes after Hughes' third TD of the half, Samuel Jackson caught a pass from Thorne in an open area with just one defender between him and the end zone. Jackson broke a tackle to finish the 50-yard pass play.

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On the last play of the first half, Thorne saw Riley Keltner in the end zone, but with a crowd around him. Keltner leapt and grabbed the ball as time expired. It was a 39-yard play.

The Redhawks finished with 441 yards of total offense.

"We wanted this one really bad. We had a great week of practice," Hughes said. "Everyone had a great game."

Naperville Central plays host to Neuqua Valley in Week 7.

"I think we have made progress, but we have a long way to go to be our best," Hughes said.

The Huskies fell to 1-5, 0-2, but did show some sparks on offense.

Naperville North got on the scoreboard late in the first half with Sean Doyle getting it started. He intercepted a pass and the Huskies started on their own 22. Thirteen plays later, quarterback Clifford Vickers connected with Matt Maschmeier on a 7-yard scoring pass with just 45.5 seconds until halftime.


The second half saw Vickers connect with Bo Richter for two touchdown passes.

"I like how our kids keep playing and giving it everything they got," said Naperville North coach Sean Drendel, whose team is at Metea Valley next week.

Hughes' third rushing touchdown and a running score from Thorne accounted for the Redhawks' second-half scoring.

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