Naperville North topples old rival Glenbard North
When the yellow flag drops in the end zone in a critical time of the game, both sides start chanting and pointing blame at the other team.
When this happened Friday night at Glenbard North, some surely thought the call might go the way of the wide receiver, Glenbard North's Zamari Robinson. But Naperville North junior defensive back William Korosec was pretty confident he had not interfered on the play while leaping to snare a one-handed interception.
The call was offensive interference, the interception stood and the Huskies still had a 21-7 lead on the Panthers early in the fourth quarter. Moments later Naperville North's Cole Arl broke off a 67-yard touchdown run and the visitors were well on their way to a 2-0 start. Glenbard North (1-1) scored in the final seconds but it was the Huskies who prevailed 28-13.
"I felt good on that play," Korosec said of the key interception. "They do have some good receivers that are taller than me, but when the other team gets inside the 25 and gets in the red zone, our defense seems to come up with big plays."
Korosec's pick was one of two big turnovers in the red zone on Friday, as Panthers quarterback Justin Bland lost a fumble deep in Huskies' territory earlier in the second half. Bland had more than 300 yards of total offense on the night, but also had three turnovers.
"We got two turnovers in the red zone by our defense and that was outstanding," Huskies coach Sean Drendel said. "Our defensive line played their butts off and the coaches had a great game plan. Last year our defense struggled a bit. Tonight it was great."
Naperville North opened a 14-0 lead in the first half before Bland connected with Robinson for an 18-yard score that cut the gap to 14-7 at the half. The Panthers continued to move the ball in the second half but the Huskies always seemed to come up with a big sack or a takeaway at just the right time.
"We now know that we have to focus all the time, everyday," said Bland, who passed for 251 yards and rushed for another 64. "We'll come back on Monday, stay focused and be ready to go again next week."
Arl, who also had a long kickoff return to help seal last week's win, finished the night with 128 yards on just 10 carries on Friday.
"All game long we were running the ball so I thought we could keep that up after William made that amazing interception," Arl said. "I was put in a good position and I just took advantage. We have three good running backs and we can wear teams down."
Quarterback Aidan Gray didn't put up big numbers but did pass for one score and ran for another. Brock Pettaway opened up the scoring with a 44-yard TD catch from Gray in the first quarter.