Andrew upsets Huntley in 8A opener
Huntley's Connor Ardell took the kickoff from inside his team's 10-yard line, made a couple of defenders miss and ran out of gas at Andrew's 6.
After the Red Raiders had just given up the lead to the Thunderbolts, Huntley was feeling good again.
Two plays later, fullback Haiden Janke rumbled into the end zone from 3 yards out and the Raiders converted a two-point pass from Sam Deligio to Jaden Laramie, cutting Andrew's lead to three points.
"The guys never quit," Huntley coach Mike Naymola said. "Even on the sidelines, they were positive and cheering each other on when we lost the lead. And that's just the kind of team they've been this year. They have each other's backs. They play for each other."
It was Andrew, however, that came up with the game's biggest drive, capping a 14-play, 70-yard drive with a 2-yard score from Mike Barberi after Janke's score.
The Raiders' final drive ended in an interception, and No. 24-seeded Andrew upset No. 9 Huntley 28-18 in their Class 8A first-round game.
The Thunderbolts (7-3) will next play No. 8 Gurnee Warren (9-1), which defeated No. 25 Stevenson 26-14 in their first-round game, in a second-round game.
"That's an outstanding program that has a lot of heart," Andrew coach Adam Lewandowski said of Huntley. "This is a really big deal for us because we're finally taking the next step. We really like the resiliency of this team. We stuck to the game plan, and we didn't get too high or too low. We just executed."
The Thunderbolts worked almost exclusively on the ground Friday night, finishing with 290 yards on 53 attempts. Barberi led the way with 146 yards and two touchdowns, including the 2-yard score with 2:53 left in the fourth for the final 28-18 score.
"Offense couldn't keep our defense off the field, and the defense was tired," said Janke, who had 109 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. "Offense should have done a better job for our defense. My O-line was perfect, but we needed to get to the second level and stop their linebackers from coming through.
"The speed of [Andrew's defensive ends] and corners and safeties was crazy. I just could not get to the outside. I couldn't hit it."
Huntley jumped out to a 10-0 lead with 7:39 left in the second quarter, scoring on a 3-yard touchdown by Janke and a 22-yard field goal by Mason Wojtas.
Andrew then answered with one of the game's biggest plays, a 44-yard pass from quarterback Andrew Skarzynski (3-of-4 passing for 76 yards) to Ryan Bressanelli, who caught the ball over his shoulder on the right sideline to cut the lead to 10-7 in the final moments of the second quarter.
In the third, Barberi broke free for a 52-yard touchdown with 8:32 left, giving the Thunderbolts their first lead at 14-10. Skarzynski added a 28-yard touchdown run with 38 seconds left in the third quarter to go up 21-10.
"Honestly, we came out strong. I think Andrew's a great team," senior lineman Luke Griskey said. "They played off their energy. Obviously, they got that momentum going in the second half. I think everyone played their hearts out tonight, and that's all you can ask for.
"Next year these guys are capable of big things. We're graduating a lot of kids, but I think our juniors are going to step up and they're just going to roll. I believe in all of them."
Sam Deligio was 4-of-12 passing for 51 yards and two interceptions. Ardell added 29 yards on the ground, and Jake Zastrow hauled in a 29-yard pass.
For Andrew, Skarzynski had 94 yards on the ground. Ryan Boling had 36 yards rushing and Nick Smith added 22 yards.
Huntley finished 3-6 last fall. This year, it was one of three Fox Valley Conference teams to win the conference title, along with Jacobs and Prairie Ridge.
"I've been incredibly blessed to have a great group of guys," Naymola said. "They are extremely coachable and they really wanted to be relevant in the football world again because of what happened last year. They did anything we asked them to do. They recommitted themselves and they bought in."