Huntley overcomes adversity, notches 1st win at Cary-Grove
The Huntley football team made history with a 21-14 victory at Cary-Grove Friday.
Never before had Huntley won in Cary. In fact, the Red Raiders had only beaten the Trojans twice overall in 15 tries since joining the Fox Valley Conference in 2003.
A stifling defense that forced Cary-Grove (3-1, 3-1) to punt five times and an offense that controlled the line of scrimmage translated to Huntley (3-1, 3-1) outgaining the Trojans 156 total yards to 56 in the second half of a comeback win.
The Class 8A Red Raiders defeated the top-ranked team in Class 6A and snapped the 2018 state champions' 17-game winning streak while short-handed. Injured starting running back Ryder Havens did not play. Pat Ricciardi, who gained 49 first-half yards, was unavailable in the second half due to a nagging ankle injury.
"We were banged up a little bit from Prairie Ridge," Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said of a 28-24 win last week. "We had to have guys step up and take on their roles by committee. We had a handful of people doing it."
Instead, quarterback Bruno Bosman and running back Alex Janke handled most of the workload behind a powerful offensive line of left tackle Trevor Masten (6-foot- 5, 300 pounds), right tackle Brandon Klemenz (6-3, 285), guards Colin Fitt (6-0, 250) and David Gehl (5-11, 175) and center Ed Nescheiwat (6-1, 270).
Bosman rushed 25 times for 110 yards and all three Huntley touchdowns.
"It all starts up front," Bosman said. "We don't win if the offensive line doesn't power through like they did."
Janke, who plays safety full time but learned the offense this week to fill in for Havens, finished with 65 yards on 12 carries.
"I just wanted to truck people and the line blocked perfectly," Janke said.
A turning point came during a wild sequence early in the third quarter. Trailing 14-7, Huntley was knocking on the door after a short drive set up by Janke's 30-yard punt return. However, Bosman fumbled and Cary-Grove linebacker Jacob Buck recovered at his own 10-yard line. It was the third lost fumble of the game for Huntley.
The Red Raiders got the ball back two plays later when senior linebacker Brady Wilke stuffed Cary-Grove fullback Blake Skol and forced a fumble that was recovered by lineman Matt Burba at the 1-yard line. Bosman's plunge on the next play and Brian Vavra's extra point knotted the score at 14-14 with 8:47 left in the third quarter.
"Ultimately, the fumble on the goal line really hurt and gave them a short field to score," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. And we just couldn't sustain anything. Our kids fought hard. It was a battle. That's the only way I can describe it."
The teams traded five punts until Huntley's running game re-established itself in the fourth quarter. Bosman directed a 10-play, 79-yard game-winning drive. He carried the ball himself six times, capped by his go-ahead 19-yard touchdown run with 4:46 left in the game.
Huntley ran the same play repeatedly and successfully.
"It was a power play right up the middle," Masten said. "We've got one of our guards pulling, we have the left side down blocking, we just beat 'em down and then we just run right up the field."
"Credit to our offensive line," Zimolzak said. "They just kept pushing and pushing and that's what we needed."
The Huntley defense followed up with a three-and-out that forced the Trojans to punt with three minutes left.
"We wanted to shut down their fullback. We did," Huntley defensive end Brad Walker said. "We wanted to shut down their quarterback. We did. Our team goals were achieved today. I'm really proud of that."
Bosman and company then ran out the clock with two first downs and finished the game in victory formation.
"We saw this first half of the season as a gauntlet and in this final game of that gauntlet and we stepped up as a team," Bosman said. "This is the proudest moment of my high school career."