Luke Williams, Naperville North answer DeKalb for DuPage Valley win

Cole Latimer goes over 300 yards, 200 yards to Davon Grant, in loss

DeKalb’s Davon Grant carries the ball after a catch with Naperville North's Luke Williams in pursuit during their game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at DeKalb High School.

DeKALB – The defenses appeared to settle down after DeKalb and Naperville North combined for 28 first-quarter points, but none over the next quarter and a half.

In the final six minutes of the third quarter, each team added two touchdowns, the Huskies answering DeKalb each time to keep the game at two scores in an eventual 42-20 win in the DuPage Valley Conference.

“We just kept our composure,” said Luke Williams, a Naperville North defensive back, receiver and punter, who had an interception, a key pass breakup and two receiving touchdowns. “Everybody says just be an even line. Don’t get too high, don’t get too low. Just do that and play the way we played all game.”

The Huskies (3-2 overall, 1-1 DVC) were up 14-0 in the first and 21-7 at the break, but the Barbs (2-3, 1-1) made it a one-score game with 5:43 left in the third quarter. Talen Tate went up the gut 21 yards, his longest run of the night, to cut the lead to 21-13. The drive was kept alive by Naperville North holding and pass interference penalties.

But the Huskies answered with a quick 10-play drive, capped when backup quarterback Carson Marlar found a wide-open Luke Williams for a 32-yard touchdown.

On the first play of DeKalb’s ensuing drive, Cole Latimer found Davon Grant for an 80-yard touchdown pass, cutting the lead to 28-20 with 1:00 left in the third quarter. Lonzo Duckworth answered on the first play of Naperville North’s next drive, going 77 yards up the right side for a score and a 35-20 lead with 45 seconds left in the third.

That’s where DeKalb ran out of answers, driving down to the Huskies’ 25 before stalling, with Naperville North scoring on offense four plays into its next drive on a 40-yard run by Cole Arl.

The Huskies finished with a 368-30 advantage in rushing yards.

“They beat us up front on both sides of the ball,” DeKalb coach Derek Schneeman said. “They won those battles up front. Defensively I felt they were moving the line of scrimmage pretty good on us and had offensive linemen in our linebackers’ laps.”

Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said the end of the third quarter reminded him of his team’s 51-49 win against Bolingbrook in Week 3.

“We had a similar situation against Bolingbrook and we didn’t handle it properly,” Drendel said. “This week ,we handled it properly by coming back and scoring on them and kind of make them chase two. Chasing two is a lot harder than chasing one.”

Arl finished with 189 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, Duckworth had 133 yards on 15 carries and a score. Marlar, filling in for the injured Jacob Bell, completed 12 of 15 passes for 132 yards and two scores. Both touchdowns and 97 yards went to Williams.

Tate had 31 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Forced to throw most of the night, Latimer completed 14 of 32 passes for 331 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Grant caught five passes for 205 yards.

“They’re a really good team and they’re super-explosive,” Drendel said. “We knew we had to score points. “Last week, we didn’t do a good job of scoring points. We did a much better job today getting the ball into guys’ hands and getting them plays we can be effective at.”

Naperville North built a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter on a 36-yard, screen-pass-turned-touchdown from Marlar to Williams, followed two drives later on a 35-yard run by Cole Arl.

The DeKalb offense, which didn’t have a play for a gain before the drive, went 65 yards for a touchdown, highlighted by a 69-yard pass after a sack and a penalty from Latimer to Grant.

But the Huskies answered with an 85-yard kickoff return by Zachary Mally to push the lead to 21-7 late in the first quarter.

“We’re finding out now when we don’t do what we’re coached to do, and we try to do too much or try to make a play, only bad things happen,” Schneeman said. “As long as we stay the course and do what we’re supposed to do, stay patient, we’ll be OK. Times where we try to do our own things, that’s where we get in trouble.”