Huntley shakes off slow start, tops Hampshire
Huntley didn't get off to the start it wanted Friday night in Fox Valley Conference play at Hampshire, but the Red Raiders sure finished with a bang.
Quarterback Chris Raffin threw three touchdowns in the final 2:17 of the first half including a pair in the last 18.7 seconds in a 42-7 Huntley victory. The game was shortened to 29 minutes because of bad weather.
The teams came back on the field for the third quarter immediately greeted by a hard rain. Conditions got worse and with 7:13 remaining in the third quarter officials took the teams off the field.
After waiting about 20 minutes the game was called.
"Conference bylaw says since we started playing second half the conference bylaw says it's over," Hampshire coach Jake Brosman said.
Huntley (5-2, 5-2), who became playoff eligible with the win, stalled on downs to start the game. Jake See and Victor Perez had sacks on that drive, the later coming on fourth down that gave the ball back to Hampshire (0-7, 0-6).
Huntley found the end zone on its next drive. Ryder Havens scooted 33 yards down the left sideline, picking up a downfield block from wide receiver Davis Pasco.
Hampshire tied the game on the first play of the second quarter when Andre Allison caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from William Buterbaugh to make it 7-7.
"We started slow," Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said. "We weren't really happy with discipline on defense. Offense wasn't finishing blocks. The fundamentals weren't great in the first quarter."
The game didn't stay tied for long as Havens broke free on a 50-yard touchdown just 46 seconds after Allison's score for a 14-7 lead.
Raffin took over from there, accounting for Huntley's final four touchdowns. He took the first one himself on a 5-yard run which he set up by with a 53-yard burst.
Then came the 21-point flurry over the final two minutes of the first half. His first strike came down the right sideline to Michael Boland on a perfectly placed lofted pass from 26 yards out.
Huntley got the ball back and quickly marched back down the field, capped by Raffin's 27-yard touchdown pass to Joey Cauldren with just 18.7 seconds left in the half.
Hampshire fumbled on its next play, and Rukkus Hunkins recovered. Raffin immediately went back to the air, and despite Hampshire being called for pass interference on the play, Connor Fitzgerald came down with the ball in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown just :8.4 before halftime.
"We have some talented receivers for sure and Chris puts the ball where he needs to put it for them to go up and get the ball," Zimolzak said. "They work on that a lot."
Huntley outgained Hampshire 432 yards to 106 in the first half.
"We had to play better," Zimolzak said. "Once we started playing well, doing what we were coached to do we really played well."
Raffin completed 9 of 11 passes for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns, adding 75 yards on the ground and another score. Havens rushed for 158 yards on 15 carries.
Hampshire put together an 8-play drive including Allison's 9-yard catch on 4th-and-8 to start the second half before Huntley held and forced Zachary Golden's fourth punt of the game.
That turned out to be the last play of the night.
"That's probably one of our better quarters of the year," Brosman said of the opening 12 minutes. "We did a lot of good things. We were moving the ball, we played good defense. First quarter was great.
"The guys played hard first quarter and we ran out of gas in the middle quarters. It gets us. We have a lot of guys going both ways. Our fundamentals as soon as we run out of gas seem to go away."