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Huskie football suffers second straight loss to drop to fourth place in the DVC

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The Naperville North Huskies entered hostile territory looking to gain sole possession of second place in the DuPage Valley Conference. The Neuqua Valley Wildcats, on an explosive three-game win streak, had other plans. After losing their first game of the season last week, the Huskies were not able to right the ship as the slide continued.

The Neuqua Valley Wildcats (5-1, 4-1) defeated the Huskies (4-2, 3-2) by a final score of 31-28.Jacob de Waard

After a scoreless first half a week ago, the Huskies offense once again faltered early and managed only six points in the first half. Other than a 72-yard drive that culminated in a 3-yard TD plunge by RB Brett Zdrubecky, the offense lacked a rhythm throughout the opening half. The Huskies have now scored 13 total first-half points in the last three games, much to the dismay of Head Coach Sean Drendel.

“We have to get off the bus sooner,” Drendel said. “We need to play better early.”

Wildcats K Stephen Ruiz converted a trio of field goals, including a school-record 50-yard FG in the fourth quarter. With 1:54 remaining in the game, Ruiz nailed a crucial 45-yard FG to extend the lead to two possessions.

Down by 11 with under two minutes left in the game, QB Drake Davis found WR Nick Calcagno in the end zone with under 30 second remaining and, after a successful two-point conversion from Davis to WR Cliff Vickers, the Huskies found themselves with a chance. The ensuing onside kick was unsuccessful, cementing the loss despite a valiant comeback attempt in the final minutes of the contest.

Jacob de Waard

“If you are a Huskie fan, you should be proud,” Drendel said. “We never give up.”

Davis tallied a trio of passing touchdowns, two to Calcagno and one to WR Ryan Laurenzo. The dynamic WR duo of Calcagno and Laurenzo continued their dominance by combining for 245 yards and three TD’s through the air.

The defense of the Huskies struggled against the run, giving up 229 total rushing yards to RB’s Will Chevalier and Cameron Raupach. This is the second straight week that the Huskies have given up over 200 yards on the ground, a theme that senior captain LB Ryan Marrano hopes to eliminate next week against the Redhawks.

“We have to execute better,” Marrano said. “We have to know our gameplan as linebackers and stop the run.”

In the final minutes of the opening quarter, Calcagno appeared to injure his leg as he fought his way down the sideline in search of extra yardage. The scene sent shock waves through the visiting sideline and their fans, but relief set in after Calcagno assessed the situation.

“My knee was hit hard, I was shaken up,” Calcagno said. “As for the future, I do not plan on missing any extra time.”

The Huskies travel to Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium at North Central College next week to face the undefeated Redhawks of Naperville Central. After a 50-31 victory last season, the Huskies look to repeat as champions in the annual Crosstown Classic. The Huskies enter the highly-anticipated rivalry matchup having dropped consecutive games for the first time in nearly two calendar years, but the sheer confidence of coach Drendel has shown no signs of deterioration.

“Bring it on, let’s go,” Drendel said. “Everyone is doubting us, this is a perfect scenario.”

Jacob de Waard

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Huskie football suffers second straight loss to drop to fourth place in the DVC