Huntley tops Dundee-Crown to earn playoff berth
The equation was simple.
A win and Huntley would be a participant in the IHSA playoff.
Playing with the ultimate sense of urgency, Huntley scored 27 unanswered first quarter points and cruised to a 55-12 victory over Dundee-Crown in Fox Valley Conference action in Huntley Friday night.
"This was one of the most dominant performances I have seen in a long time," said Huntley coach Matt Zimzolak "We treated the game like a playoff game. We had a great week of practice and the kids played with a great sense of urgency."
The Red Raiders set the tempo on the first drive of the game.
Throwing on the first 4 plays, senior quarterback Chris Raffin completed 4-of-4 passes for 41 yards. Mike Boland grabbed 2 passes for 24 yards and Connor Fitzgerald snared 2 passes for 17 yards. The drive culminated on a 7-yard TD run by Ryder Havens.
Fitzgerald, on a reverse, gave the Red Raiders (6-3, 6-2) a 14-0 lead on a 7-yard TD run with 3:44 left in the first quarter.
The defense got into the act as Mike Talesky intercepted a Josh Raby pass and rambled 39 yards for a TD and a 21-0 Huntley advantage with 3:25 left in the initial quarter.
"Mike watches a lot of film and is a student of the game and he anticipated where the pass was going to be," said Zimzolak. "He is an unbelievable force on our defense."
The Red Raiders recorded their second pick-6 of the game when Boland returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown.
"I was in the right place at the right time and read the play," said Boland. "We knew this was like a playoff game and we had to win."
Raffin, who ran for a 11-yard touchdown, completed 7-of-8 passes for 94 yards. Fitzgerald caught 4 passes for 41 yards while Boland grabbed 3 for 53 yards.
Huntley, which ran for 202 yards, was paced by Havens who rushed for 153 yards with 3 touchdown runs of 7, 48 and 7 yards.
Raby, playing in his final game as a Charger, completed 13-of-27 passes for 198 yards, 2 interceptions and 2 touchdowns.
"Josh is a great kid and a great competitor," said Dundee-Crown coach Mike Steinhaus. "He played the last 2 games hurt. He is one of 26 seniors who will be missed."
Senior Jack Michalski grabbed 4 passes for 53 yards including TD passes of 6 and 8 yards.
"This team became only the second Dundee-Crown team in 20 years to win more than 3 games," Steinhaus said. "It shows the uphill battle this program has gone through. I wish we had another game to prepare for. It would be nice to keep the family together."