Naperville North topples Metea Valley
Before Saturday's game, Naperville North senior running back Lontrez Duckworth's two-plus minute highlight reel tape was filled with a diverse number of plays to showcase his all-around skills.
Duckworth made a point to focus on his tough-running ability, added a few long runs to display his speed and included several pass-blocking plays.
Duckworth was missing one essential highlight -- a touchdown.
He fixed that oversight in Saturday's rain-filled game at Metea Valley.
Duckworth scored 5 touchdowns to power Naperville North to a 48-20 victory in DuPage Valley Conference play.
"It's going to look really nice," Duckworth said smiling, of his upcoming highlight tape. "It's going to look good."
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Duckworth had a valid excuse for not scoring a touchdown. The Huskies (1-1, 1-1) had played just one game due to their previous two games --- Naperville Central and DeKalb -- being canceled because of COVID-19.
Duckworth finished with 25 carries for a career-high 209 yards to extend Naperville North's series winning streak to five over the Mustangs. Val Richter and Zeke Williams both had touchdown catches for the Huskies.
"I took my time with my vision and the offensive line did everything else," Duckworth said. "I know last year I didn't have the best of years, so this year I really wanted to do well. I know I'm better than last year, and just had to prove it. I've been practicing with the offensive line more, so I can get their mental process. The O-line did great today."
After the Mustangs (0-3, 0-2) capped the opening drive with a 4-yard touchdown run by Kalen Riley-Richardson to seize a 7-0 lead, the Huskies reeled off 35 unanswered points to win their first game.
Duckworth sparked the offense with his hard-charging running, carrying the ball six times for 64 yards on the Huskies' first drive. He capped the long drive with a 2-yard touchdown, then added scoring runs of 2, 20, 47 and 2 yards. Duckworth's first carry -- a 34-yarder -- helped steady the Huskies' offense following Metea Valley's opening touchdown.
"I've been really focused and knew what I wanted to do, and the offensive line had my back, but that (first) carry was important," Duckworth said.
Duckworth saved his best run for midway through the third quarter. He broke through the middle, spun around near the 30-yard line and raced into the end zone for his fourth TD.
Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said his team was happy to be back on the field after a long hiatus. He was proud of Duckworth's effort throughout the week. The Huskies' defense added two interceptions and two sacks.
"This was a good test for us," Drendel said. "When you haven't played for two weeks, you don't know what you are going to get. It was like starting over for us. Lontrez played great. We see it in practice. He's super physical and does a lot of great things. We talked about him getting on track. He was really energized today. We saw about midweek that he was going to lead us."
Metea Valley wide receivers John Flynn and Jalen Johnson both had big games, with Flynn snaring 9 receptions for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. Johnson added 6 catches for 50 yards. Metea Valley junior quarterback Logan Frederick had a gusty showing, passing for 202 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions to go with 35 yards rushing.