Ethan Robert’s huge game leads Naperville North past Naperville Central

NAPERVILLE – Naperville North running back Ethan Robert put on a show Friday night at North Central College.

Robert, who at times looked like a pinball bouncing off tacklers, rushed 34 times for 287 yards as the Huskies defeated Naperville Central, 38-27, in their DuPage Valley Conference game.

Robert ran for a pair of touchdowns, the first coming on an 80-yard score on the Huskies’ sixth play from scrimmage.

North junior quarterback Aidan Gray completed16 for 18 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s Central, you know?” Robert said. “You’ve got to have the fire when you’re playing your rival. We were playing with emotion today, we came together as a team, and we needed this win.”

Robert’s efforts offset that of Redhawks senior quarterback Owen Prucha, who threw for 302 yards on 16 for 26 passing and three touchdowns. Prucha hit receiver Tristen Hall for a 64-yard late in the fourth quarter that set the final score.

“It’s a good one,” Huskies’ coach Sean Drendel said. “It’s sweet because we didn’t play them last year. The kids missed that opportunity, and you know, they (Naperville Central) are a really good program, and anytime you can beat a really good program, it matters.”

North took a 28-13 lead into the third quarter, but watched that nearly evaporate thanks for a Prucha 1-yard scoring run. But as luck would have it, the Huskies got a big break on their ensuing drive.

On the 14th play of the drive, a fourth-and-goal from the Central 1-yard line, North lost the ball in a scrum. There it was laying right there for the picking, and senior receiver Zeke Williams alertly fell on it for a touchdown.

The ball appeared to have been tipped, Williams said, but he was in the right place at the right time.

“I didn’t hear a whistle, so I went for the ball and fell on it,” Williams said.

The Huskies (3-3, 2-1 DVC) added a 27-yard field goal from junior David Olano late in the fourth quarter..

On Central’s ensuing drive, Prucha dropped back on his own 36 and lofted a perfect spiral down the middle to Hall, who caught it in stride and took it to the house.

“We had a nice little screen before that to set that up,” Prucha said. “We had them on their toes, I felt like. I don’t think they were expecting a deep shot. Tristen Hall is a really fast receiver. I put it out there and he did the rest.”

Central (3-3, 1-2) picked up a fumble deep in its own territory with 2:02 to go, but could get only so far as the Huskies’ 29.

“Give them credit, they outplayed us and they beat us,” Redhawks coach Mike Ulreich said. “They ran the ball really efficiently, and it felt like they gained five, six yards on first down, and that’s a tough night when you can’t get a stop on first down.”