Huntley pulls away from CL Central in 3rd quarter
Huntley's fortunes took an advantageous turn late in the first half when Crystal Lake Central quarterback Jason Penza had to leave the game with an injured right elbow.
The Red Raiders looked even better a few plays into the second half.
Huntley linebacker Joey Arvidson grabbed two fumbles on back-to-back plays from scrimmage, one for a touchdown and the second on Central's 6-yard line, to set up another score.
The Raiders rode that quick 14-point swing to a 37-20 victory Friday night in their Fox Valley Conference football game at Owen Metcalf Field.
"The defense really turned it around for us," Huntley coach Mike Naymola said. "I feel bad for their quarterback, I hope he's not hurt. He's a tremendous player. The game could have been a lot different if he played the whole game, that's not a secret. You have to take advantage of opportunities given to you and we did that tonight."
Penza scrambled for yardage and went to slide after a gain late in the second quarter. Raiders linebacker Dashaun Manning slid into Penza and apparently Manning's helmet hit Penza's right (throwing) elbow. He left the game and could not return.
The Tigers put their leading receiver George Dimopoulos in at quarterback. Early in the second half, Dimopoulos bobbled a snap in the end zone that fell to the ground and Arvidson recovered.
On Central's next play, Dimopoulos and running back Vince Honer had trouble on a handoff and Arvidson was there again.
Tigers coach Dirk Stanger thought Dimopoulos just coming in at a new position had an effect on those plays.
"That's going to be on me, I have to get him more reps during the week. I kind of let us down," Stanger said. "We kept it close. Our defense played their butts off.
"It's tough when you take your best receiver and put him at quarterback and (wide receiver Griffin) Buehler goes down with cramps. It was one thing after another. The kids fought hard. George did a good job and threw some good balls after he settled down a little bit."
Huntley rallied from down 14-7 in the second quarter to take a 17-14 halftime lead. Running back Haiden Janke finished with 29 carries and 168 yards with a touchdown. Quarterback Sam Deligio ran for two scores.
"Amazing. I loved it. The O-line was making ginormous holes and I was able to go and score some touchdowns and get some yards," Janke said. "It felt like we were all locked in ready to win the game."
Central had 296 yards of offense in the first half with Penza running the show. Huntley cracked down after halftime.
"We came out hungry in the second half and turned it around. We flipped the switch, knocked off the rust," Huntley defensive end Ben Wiley said. "It feels very good. We gave them the energy they needed and they gave us the energy we needed."