CARPENTERSVILLE – Time after time Friday night, the Dundee-Crown defense was pushed to its brink.
But the two biggest tests would come in the final minutes of the fourth quarter when Huntley pushed deep into D-C territory. Both times, though, the Chargers withstood the charge, completing a second-half shutout that preserved a 17-14 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division victory.
“We had a really good defensive week of practice and we’re starting to see the fruits of our practices,” Chargers coach Vito Andriola said. “It shows because (Huntley) has a bunch of weapons and they didn’t score in the second half.”
The Chargers (4-1, 2-1 Valley) took the lead for good on Malik Dunner's 41-yard touchdown run with 7:44 remaining in the third quarter. That proved to be all D-C needed, even though Huntley (2-3, 0-2 Valley) kept threatening until the very end.
The Red Raiders moved the ball, but struggled with discipline throughout the night. Huntley had three touchdowns negated due to holding calls. Despite that, Huntley remained intent on snapping its two-game losing streak.
Still trailing by 3 late in the fourth quarter, Huntley reached the D-C 4-yard line. But after the Red Raiders failed to reach the end zone, kicker Donnie Young pushed a 22-yard field goal attempt wide right.
After D-C went three and out on its next drive, Huntley regained possession with just under three minutes to play. Again, the Red Raiders methodically moved the ball downfield.
After Blake Jacobs connected with Brandon Altergott, moving the ball to the Chargers' 15-yard line and then got closer on a completion to Kyle Kesul, coach John Hart allowed the clock to wind down to 5 seconds, giving Young a second chance to tie the game.
But again, Young's attempt – this time from 28 yards – sailed wide right.
"We're still playing as we possibly can play," said Hart, whose team has lost three straight games – all by seven points or less. "We're making silly mistakes and I don't know why we are. We've just got to be a better team."
Meanwhile, D-C picked up what Andriola called his first "program win" – a reference to the way his players have believed in the system and have seen things pay off this season. Friday night, it was the defense's turn to prove its meddle.
"This is a really big win," Dunner said. "We shut it down defensively – we haven't been playing well defensively the last few weeks and we just shut them down this week."