Loss imperils Downers Grove North's playoff hopes

By Matt Le Cren
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/18/2019 11:28 PM

Quarterback Drew Cassens and running back Josh Lumpkin each rushed for more than 100 yards and Downers Grove North outgained Lyons by 50 yards of total offense Friday night.

It wasn't enough.


Sophomore quarterback Joey Antonietti tossed 3 touchdown passes, including a 64-yarder to Chris Clarke for the go-ahead score in the third quarter, as the visiting Lions rallied for a 19-14 upset at Carstens Field in Downers Grove.

Downers North (4-4, 2-4 West Suburban Silver) still controls its own destiny but now must win at cross-town rival Downers Grove South next week to qualify for the playoffs.

"We had the opportunity to have 6 wins (this season)," Downers North coach Joe Horeni said. "We didn't take advantage of it. It makes it all that much more disappointing."

Lumpkin carried 20 times for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a nice 43-yard scamper that gave the Trojans a 14-6 lead with 4:32 to go in the second quarter.

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Cassens added 102 yards on 21 attempts.

Lyons Twp. benefitted from two interceptions. Rafeon Kloes returned the first 46 yards to the Downers North 41, setting up Antonietti's first TD strike, a 26-yarder to Trell Harris.

Kyle Garcia had the second pick for LT in the fourth quarter, which set up the Lions (4-4, 2-3) at the Downers North 21. The Trojans stopped that drive, but they could not break through on offense, coming up empty on each of their last seven possessions.

"They made some nice adjustments against us in the second half," Horeni said. "We marched the ball down the field, threw the interception. I'm just frustrated."

The Trojans still had a chance to win in the final minute. Taking over at his own 24-yard line with 2:24 left, Cassens completed five straight passes and drove the Trojans to the LT 16 before calling time out with 53 seconds left.


But Cassens was sacked for a 17-yard loss on the ensuing play, and his 16-yard completion to Luke Schulz on fourth down came up 5 yards short of the first down.

Antonietti has been splitting time with senior Blaise Reichert, who missed the game due to injury. He was thrilled to finally be the difference-maker for the Lions, who were 1-8 last year but have a chance to make the playoffs if they can upset Hinsdale Central next week.

"I've been hoping for those (touchdowns) the entire season and to finally see it happen, it felt great," Antonietti said. "Watching that final drive was nerve-wracking on the sidelines, but our defense stepped up and made a great play."

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