McHENRY – Mitch Kawell maintains that when Huntley's offense runs at full capacity, shutting down the Red Raiders can be a difficult proposition.
When the defense creates turnovers, leaving Kawell and his teammates even less ground to cover, producing points at a high rate becomes even easier.
For the second straight week, the Red Raiders piled up plenty of production in a 42-14 FVC Valley victory over McHenry on Friday night, setting the stage for Huntley's divisional showdown with Jacobs next week.
"I think it's our biggest game right now because they're one of the top teams right now," said Kawell, who ran for 123 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. "If we beat them, we can solidify who we are."
Huntley (4-3, 2-2 Valley) once again showcased an offense that can be equally dangerous on the ground and through the air. The Red Raiders turned a pair of McHenry fumbled snaps into quick scores – first on a Kawell touchdown run and then on one of three Blake Jacobs touchdown passes.
Jacobs' 21-yard scoring strike to Kyle Kesul gave the Red Raiders a commanding 28-6 lead. Kawell reached the end zone twice in the second half.
"We're getting a lot closer," Huntley coach John Hart said. "We're still making little mistakes that we shouldn't be making at this point of the year, but we're playing really, really hard."
McHenry (2-5, 0-4 Valley) showed glimpses of offensive effectiveness, getting to within 14-6 on Mike Briscoe's 36-yard touchdown pass to Mike Borst. But the Warriors struggled to generate any rhythm as three snaps got away from Briscoe, aiding Huntley's ability to get into the end zone.
"When you give any team in the Valley the ball on the 20-yard line because of fumbled snaps, it's going to be tough," McHenry coach Dave D'Angelo said. "We thought we could hang with these guys, but turnovers kill you."
Huntley's defense locked down McHenry's option offense, limiting McHenry to 44 rushing yards. The Warriors added a third-quarter touchdown on Thomas Hellios' 12-yard touchdown run, but only after Huntley had swung the momentum for good.
Now, with two straight wins, the Red Raiders can move closer to securing a playoff berth next week against Jacobs, which has won five straight games.
"If we play on this level, we can keep doing this," Huntley defensive lineman Marcus Wright said. "If we play on even a higher level, we know we can dominate the whole game."