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Huskie football suffers first loss of season amid offensive struggles

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The Naperville North Huskies entered Glenbard North’s Homecoming Night looking to extend their winning streak to five. The Panthers, playing with fiery motivation, had other plans. After averaging over 40 points per game through the first four weeks of the season, the high-flying Huskies offense met their match.

The Glenbard North Panthers (3-2, 2-2) defeated the Huskies (4-1, 3-1) by a final score of 20-7.

The Panthers offense was led by junior RB Mark Finley who finished with a staggering 280 yards on 46 carries. The offensive line, anchored by 250-pound senior C Agustin Gamez, opened up gaping holes for Finley throughout the night.

The lone Panther touchdown in the second half came on a 41-yard TD run by Finley, extending the lead to 20 and thrusting the dagger in the hearts of the Huskies. The scent of defeat began to waft over to the visiting sideline and was detected by head coach Sean Drendel.

“We could not get the stop that we needed to change the game,” Drendel said. “I never felt like we were out of it until they made [the lead] 20.”

After recovering a fumble early in the third quarter, the Huskies found themselves with favorable field position. However, the opportunity vanished as quickly as it had arrived after WR Nick Calcagno fumbled the ball right back to the Panthers.

“We could never get the momentum to swing in our favor,” Drendel said. “Over the last four weeks, [momentum] was always on our side.”

The offense of the Huskies remained stagnant throughout the game, scoring their only points on a 2-yard TD scamper by QB Drake Davis late in the fourth quarter. However, despite remaining scoreless until late in the contest, the offense once again showed flashes of brilliance. Early in the game, Davis unloaded a 50+ yard cannon to WR Ryan Laurenzo who, with Minnesota commit CB Tyrik Henderson draped all over him, miraculously hauled it in. This, though, did not become a theme throughout the night as the secondary of the Panthers shut down the dynamic receiving corps of the Huskies.

“We couldn’t match their intensity,” Laurenzo said. “They got the best of us tonight.”

Up to this point in the season, the top three teams in the Dupage Valley Conference have combined to lose only two games. The Redhawks of Naperville Central stand alone atop the standings with a perfect 5-0 record. The Wildcats of Neuqua Valley battle the Huskies next week at Barrows Stadium for sole possession of second place. The Huskies will attempt to re-enter the winning column after enduring their first defeat of the season. With the leadership of the star quarterback on full display, it is safe to say that the mindset of the Huskies has not been tainted.

“We can’t dwell on it,” Davis said. “We have to put this one in the past and move on.”

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Huskie football suffers first loss of season amid offensive struggles