Naperville North's balanced attack continues clicking

By Stan Goff
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/10/2022 8:24 PM

When there's Division I talent behind center and at the wide receiver position, it can be easy to overlook the running backs on the football field. But Naperville North's "Three-headed monster" has been making so much noise through three weeks of the football season that it's impossible not to notice.

The trio of Danny Eloe, Cole Arl and Nathan Jacobs has played big roles in the Huskies' strong start. On Saturday Eloe and Jacobs came up especially big as Naperville North knocked off Orchard Lake St. Mary's Prep (Mich.) 40-13 at home to improve to 3-0 this fall.


Jacobs busted off a 78-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage and Eloe had a career-best three touchdowns as both backs went over 100 yards on the ground for an attack that rushed for 287 yards in the victory over the Michigan school.

"This was a first for me and it feels pretty good," said Eloe of his three-TD game. "We're going to keep this train rolling from here on out. That's something we have, the depth with three running backs. Actually, we have many more running backs that we can put in the game. That depth allows us to have selected plays on the field. None of us get exhausted. None of us get hurt. We all stay healthy."

Arl, who helped seal the team's first two wins this season with a long kickoff return for a score and a long TD run last week, had a relatively quiet 33 yards on 9 carries but added a 36-yard catch that set up Eloe's third score, a 16-yard run that put the Huskies up 40-13 late in the third quarter.

"Our running game has been real good. We've got different kids and we have different looks and it's been super effective," Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said as he celebrated his birthday with an impressive win. "It's been fun. If you take away the Williams and the Pettaways [Huskies receivers] you're going to get a steady dose of our 3- or 4-headed monster at running back. You can't cover it all, right?"

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Huskies quarterback Aidan Gray did still pass for 205 yards including touchdowns to Luke Williams and Brock Pettaway as the hosts gained close to 500 yards of total offense.

Naperville North's defense, meanwhile, survived a bend-but-don't break first half and then shut out St. Mary's in the second half. Brayden Ledin was 25 for 38 for 335 yards for the visitors, but the Eaglets could muster just a field goal over the final three quarters of play.

"We talked it over in the locker room and we knew what we had to do," said Huskies senior Luke Keough, who recorded a fourth-quarter interception. "We just had to come up faster as a unit. We decided we just didn't want them to score again. We said no more scoring in this [second] half."

Next up for the Huskies is a big DVC showdown with Neuqua Valley.

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