Crystal Lake Central knocks off Huntley

  • Huntley's Carter Knutsen runs the ball downfield before being tackled by Crystal Lake Central's Jack Blum Friday.

    Huntley's Carter Knutsen runs the ball downfield before being tackled by Crystal Lake Central's Jack Blum Friday. Matthew Apgar/

Updated 8/27/2021 11:55 PM

If Crystal Lake Central demonstrate anything Friday night, it was remarkable resiliency.

The Tigers committed three turnovers and fell behind by two touchdowns in the first quarter, but held tough in the second quarter, then took over in the second half.


Central put up 25 second-half points, and did not turn the ball over in the second half for a 32-21 Fox Valley Conference victory over Huntley at Red Raider Stadium.

Tigers running back Brent Blitek ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Colton Madura ran for 107 and also had two scores.

Central (1-0) trailed Huntley (0-1), 14-7, at halftime, but got the ball first in the second half 85 yards to score. The Tigers got a stop on defense, then Blitek ripped off a 57-yard scoring run.

"I told them at halftime we had too many self-inflicted wounds," Tigers coach Jon McLaughlin said. "We've very fortunate to be sitting here 14-7. If we stopped the self-inflicted wounds I thought we'd win this game by two or three touchdowns."

Blitek's touchdown put the Tigers ahead for the first time, 20-14. Huntley answered with quarterback Sam Deligio's 11-yard run for a 21-20 lead.

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Madura than found sophomore wide receiver Jason Penza for an 81-yard touchdown that put Central ahead for good. Madura added a 14-yard touchdown run with 1:37 remaining after Central's defense had stopped Huntley at its 16-yard line.

"We gave up too many big plays across the board," Red Raiders coach Matt Zimolzak said. "We didn't do what we're capable of. It was a test for us. We got a lot of soul-searching to do on this one. We're going to be a whole team.

"Sometimes, you're not glad when stuff like this happens, but it's the slap in the face you need to get going."

Deligio completed 17 of 33 passes with one touchdown and two late interceptions. He threw for 184 yards.

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