The student news site of Naperville North High School

The North Star

The student news site of Naperville North High School

The North Star

The student news site of Naperville North High School

The North Star

Huskie Football loses the Crosstown Classic to Naperville Central in a game marred by penalties and missed opportunities

The Naperville North High School varsity football team lost to Naperville Central High School on Fri., Sept. 29.

The Huskies (3-3) were bested by the Redhawks (5-1) with the final score of 21-14.

The 2023 Crosstown Classic ended as it started, with a dominant showing from the Redhawks’ run game. What transpired in between was a series of missed opportunities, turnovers and penalties that sullied the Huskies’ comeback from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit. The Huskie offense failed to capitalize off the mistakes the Redhawks made in the first quarter, including several 4th-down turnovers, a missed field goal and an interception from senior wide receiver (WR) and defensive back (DB) Luke Williams. An exhilarating rushing touchdown from senior running back Cole Arl and a defensive solidification from the Huskies kept the game close at a score of 14-7 going into the half. Junior DB Zachary Mally bemoans the team’s inability to close the gap.

“We knew it was going to be a battle from the start, we knew we were going to have to fight for it but we just fell short,” Mally said.

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The Huskies came out of the second half with a strong passing attack, centered on the connection between quarterback Jacob Bell and his WRs Luke Williams and Brock Pettaway. However, this drive would not result in a score as multiple penalties led to a turnover-on-downs deep in Redhawk territory. Later in the third quarter, the Huskies threw a costly interception in the endzone, cutting another methodical drive short. After another great defensive stop, Arl scored another rushing touchdown, tying the game at 14-14 with 8:12 left in the game. However, the Huskie defense, which had stayed solid through most of the game, weakened at the end. After a punt by Luke Williams pinned the Redhawks within their own 5-yard line, the Huskie defense committed costly penalties on 3rd down while allowing Central to rely on their run game. This drive was capped off with an impressive rushing touchdown from the Redhawks, giving them the lead with less than a minute remaining. An interception wrapped a Redhawk victory, 21-14. Sophomore defensive lineman Gabriel Hill explains how he and the defense felt about the game.

“I felt good. I was a little nervous and that is why I got the personal foul, the false start, but then once I got into it no one really could stop me. We had a great game, but we just came up short,” Hill said.

Naperville North’s loss puts the Huskies in a precarious position, as with one more loss the team would fail to reach the playoffs. This would be the first time that it has happened since the 2019 season. Many players approach the loss with an eye toward what is ahead, including Mally.

“We’re definitely going to start Monday very hard, we know what we did wrong and we got to fix it, we gotta show out, for the fans,” Mally said.

Head Coach Sean Drendel expresses how the team looks to move forward after the loss.

“Well I mean obviously we get another chance to play the game and that’s all that matters,” Drendel said.

The Huskies play their next game on Friday, Oct. 6 against Metea Valley High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at home. 

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Quinn Miller
Quinn Miller, Staff Writer
Quinn Miller is a junior at Naperville North and is excited to start his first year with The North Star. He is looking forward to exploring the world of journalism both inside and outside of school. Outside of The North Star, Quinn plays saxophone with Naperville North’s Jazz Ensemble and Hot Brockets.

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