Huntley battles but falls short at Marist
The Huntley football team played a great second half, the defense in particular.
It was not enough to make up for a first half in which the Red Raiders turned the ball over twice and yielded two touchdowns.
No. 23 Marist (7-4) did not score in the second half and was limited to 92 yards by a determined defense, but the RedHawks held No. 7 Huntley to a third-quarter touchdown and 218 total yards to win 14-7 in a Class 8A second-round playoff game in Chicago Saturday.
"We played a tremendous second half," Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said. "We made a few mistakes in the first half that cost is, but it's more about the fight that we had in the second half. I think we played really well."
Huntley was in it until the end.
The Red Raiders drew within a touchdown with 7:18 left in the third quarter, thanks, in part, to quarterback Bruno Bosman. The junior carried seven times on an 8-play, 44 yard drive that began after the Huntley defense forced a three-and-out to open the second half.
Bosman gained 31 of his team-high 53 rushing yards on that march and threw a 13-yard pass to senior Cade Whiteside. He burst for 10 yards to the 1-yard line and scored on the next play.
"I'm always willing to do whatever works," Bosman said. "If it was working, I was going to keep doing it. Eventually, they stopped what I was doing myself. That's when they kind of shut me down."
Huntley punted on its next two possessions. The Red Raider defense likewise forced two straight punts from the RedHawks.
Huntley got the ball back with 3:39 to play, but an incompletion, a sack by Marist defensive back Nick Bounardj and a tackle for loss by senior middle linebacker Colin Bohanek left the Fox Valley Conference co-champs facing fourth-and-19.
Forced to go for it with just over two minutes to play, Bosman stepped up in the pocket, was hit from behind and fumbled before he could throw the ball. Bohanek pounced on the recovery at the 20 yard line.
Again the stout Huntley defense held firm, forcing the RedHawks to turn the ball over on downs after an incompletion.
With only 15 seconds left, the Red Raiders completed a short pass deep in their own territory but were unable to spike the ball before the clock expired.
Two Marist first-half touchdowns proved too much to overcome. Quarterback Hayden Mikesell rushed for one score and threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to freshman Carnell Tate for the other.
"I have to give it all to my guys," Huntley senior defensive lineman Matt Burba said. "We trained day in and day out to be in this moment and we just came up short. We trained hard every day and put it all on the line. It just (stinks) that this happened, but, hey, it is what it is. You just have to move on to the next chapter."
The Red Raiders, who defeated Class 6A semifinalists Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove en route to their first FVC title since 2016, gave 2018 Class 8A semifinalist Marist all it could handle on its home field. Despite the loss, Zimolzak said this senior class "put Huntley on the map."
"To come here and compete with a Catholic school team like this is something we really needed as a program," he said. "That's what they started for us."
Marist advances to a quarterfinal against No. 18 Loyola Academy (8-3), the defending Class 8A champion. The Ramblers nipped undefeated No. 2 seed Glenbard West 28-27.