Naperville North knocks off DeKalb, 40-21

DeKALB —The Naperville North Huskies ran away early with a big lead to defeat the DeKalb Barbs, 40-21.

The Huskies (2-3, 1-1 Dupage Valley) scored on all four of their first-half possessions behind the play of junior quarterback Aiden Gray.

Gray hit sophomore Luke Williams for a 13-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring on their first drive of the game.

The Barbs (3-3, 0-2) then scored on their first possession of the game with Adrien McVicar diving for a 1-yard quarterback sneak to take a 7-6 lead. The touchdown was set up by a 31-yard strike from McVicar to Toriano Tate to get the Barbs inside the 10-yard line.

After that score, it was all Huskies for the rest of the half.

“We can’t expect to play two quarters and win,” DeKalb coach Derek Schneeman said. “We scored on our first drive and then we couldn’t stop them on third down. We couldn’t get out of our own way.”

Gray scored on a quarterback keeper from the 1-yard line on the Huskies next possession to go up 12-7. Then the Huskies pulled out the trickery.

The Huskies surprised the Barbs with an onside kick that set the visitors up with good field position.

“Our defense kind of let them go down and score on the first drive, so if we can get one, let’s get one,” Huskies coach Sean Drendel said. “If we get two scores ahead of them it forces their hand a little bit to get away from their power run game.”

On third-and-11 from the DeKalb 32-yard line, Gray launched a pass into the end zone to Luke Williams, who came down with the ball with DeKalb defensive back LaBrian Carrington in tight coverage.

“My receivers did a great job of getting open and making it easy for me,” Gray said. “When these big plays come, we did a great job of executing.”

After running back Ethan Robert put the Huskies up 26-7 on a 2-yard run, the Barbs started to get back into the game.

The Barbs were threatening with first-and-10 at the Huskies 16-yard line after a 16-yard screen pass from McVicar to Talen Tate with less than a minute left in the first half. On the next play, the Barbs fumbled it and Andrew Dawson picked the ball up for the Huskies and sprinted 84 yards down the field for the touchdown and the 33-7 halftime lead.

The Barbs came back in the second half and tightened up the game behind Talen Tate and quarterback Joshua Klemm, who came in for an injured McVicar.

Talen Tate had two long touchdown runs in the second half. His first touchdown run came on first-and-10 from the 25-yard line. He took the ball off tackle, broke to the outside, and scampered down the sideline for the score.

“Everybody started to put it together, but in the DVC you can’t play one half of football,” Talen Tate said. “We’re going to have to go to practice and work because we’re better than this.”

His second touchdown of the half, this one from 23-yards out, brought the Barbs to within 12 points of the Huskies with 9:39 left in the game.

Gray and the Huskies answered right back with a 26-yard pass into the end zone to Matthew Pasteris on fourth down to get the lead up to 40-21.