HUNTLEY – Huntley quarterback Kameron Sallee experienced a sinking feeling with 5:43 remaining.
Sallee, who had tossed three touchdown passes and played so well for 31⁄2 quarters, had just committed the game’s only turnover on a fumble, setting up Dundee-Crown on the Red Raiders’ 43-yard line.
Huntley clung to a precarious three-point lead, but D-C had shown an ability to strike back the entire game. The Raiders’ defense answered the challenge, twice stopping D-C in the final minutes for a 31-28 victory in their Fox Valley Conference Valley Division football game Friday at Harmony Road Campus Stadium.
“It was amazing,” Sallee said. “I was so glad the defense picked me up like that.”
Huntley (3-2 overall, 3-0 FVC Valley) has won three consecutive games and leads the division by one-half game.
“I don’t know if momentum’s the right word, it’s more pride,” Hart said. “It sounds cliché, but we had to learn how to finish, and our defense has been finishing for us lately. The kids found a way to find that backbone and find a way to win. I’m very proud of them.”
Huntley stopped D-C on three downs following Sallee’s fumble, then ended the Chargers’ final threat on fourth-and-5 from the Huntley 30.
“When we’re called on to do our duties, we want to do it,” Raiders linebacker Brandon Mabry said.
The Chargers (3-2, 1-2) thought Huntley had a little help on the last possession. Running back J.T. Beasley was breaking open for a pass from quarterback Garrett Ryan and got tangled up with a Huntley defender. D-C’s coaches and players wanted pass interference, but no call was made.
“That’s pass interference, he was on me,” said Beasley, who had a 95-yard kickoff return and a 33-yard touchdown reception. “I don’t know what happened there. We had plenty of opportunities on offense. Our defense kept us in it.”
D-C still would have had almost 1:00 remaining if it had gotten a first down.
“We didn’t play good in the first half,” Chargers coach Vito Andriola said. “We shouldn’t have been in that position to leave it up to one play. We’re a good football team, we’re not a great football team. Our program is still at the point where we end up hurting ourselves too much.”
D-C came out strong in the second half when Ryan hit Beasley for a touchdown and then connected with Connor Steinmitz for the two-point conversion to tie the score at 21-21. The Chargers scored again 5 minutes later when running back Cody Lane broke up the middle for a 45-yard touchdown and a 28-21 lead.
Huntley did not have much success on the ground, but running back Jake Scalise busted a 68-yard run around left end on the next play from scrimmage and Sallee’s extra point tied the score.
“That was the best feeling to hand it off and see Jake go all the way,” Sallee said. “That’s the first time that play has worked like that all year.”
Huntley took advantage of great field position early in the fourth quarter when Sallee booted a 29-yard field goal that proved to be the game-winner.
“Once I saw that ball on the tee, I just thought about it being just like in practice all those times,” Sallee said.