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Football

High school football playoffs: Huntley upsets Stevenson in Class 8A opener

Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com
Huntley's Eric Mooney (right) celebrates with his team after they won their Class 8A playoff game against Stevenson on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Lincolnshire. Huntley won, 21-20.
Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Huntley's Eric Mooney (right) celebrates with his team after they won their Class 8A playoff game against Stevenson on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Lincolnshire. Huntley won, 21-20.

LINCOLNSHIRE – With each play, the realization set in more on Huntley’s sideline that it was going to happen.

First it was defensive end Tony Bucaro sacking Stevenson quarterback Aiden O’Donnell and forcing a fumble, which the Patriots recovered.

Then it was defensive end Caleb Jones’ turn, dropping O’Donnell for another 5-yard loss.

Defensive tackle Olalere Oladipo, who sat out two quarters with a sprained ankle before hobbling back into the fray, was not going to be left out. He nabbed O’Donnell for a 10-yard loss on fourth down.

Although 3:16 remained on the clock, it was over. Quarterback Eric Mooney took one snap after another and followed fullback Dylan Macari through the hole as the No. 24-seeded Red Raiders finished off their upset of No. 9 Stevenson, 21-20, in a Class 8A playoff opener Friday night.

UNSUNG HERO

Joe Boland

Huntley, sr., CB

Boland sprained an ankle on the opening kickoff but return later and was defending when 6-foot-3 Mike Marchese caught a 34-yard scoring pass. Boland is 5-7. Boland reinjured the ankle before halftime but again returned and knocked down a pass toward Marchese on fourth-and-3 from the Huntley 30 in the third quarter.

QUICK STATS

Huntley 21, Stevenson 20

Huntley 7 7 7 0 - 21

Stevenson 14 0 6 0 - 20

First quarter

S-Korinek 8 run (Worwa kick), 4:25.

H-Mooney 1 run (Zion kick), 1:04.

S-M. Marchese 34 pass from O’Donnell (Worwa kick), 0:02.

Second quarter

H-Mooney 74 run (Zion kick), 6:11.

Third quarter

S-H. Marchese 65 pass from O’Donnell (kick failed), 11:03.

H-Frederick 4 pass from Mooney (Zion kick), 6:55.

AND ANOTHER THING

Huntley’s student section came well-equipped for the game with a flat-screen TV and sound system so they could tune in and watch the Cubs face the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 of the World Series. They mainly watched before the game and at halftime.

Huntley linebacker Charlie Zornow spoke to the team’s mindset entering the game as an underdog.

“I believe, just as they’re a powerhouse, so is Huntley,” Zornow said. “We come out here, they should be scared.”

Mooney ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, a 4-yard strike in the third quarter to wide receiver Daniel Frederick. Chase Zion’s extra point provided the winning margin.

“Coming into the playoffs we knew we were a good team,” Mooney said. “We lost to two undefeated teams (Prairie Ridge and West Aurora) and Cary-Grove, that has one loss. And we played bad all three games. We knew coming in every team is 0-0, we were ready to go.”

Huntley (7-3) meets the winner of Saturday’s 1 p.m. game between No. 25 Fremd (6-3) and No. 8 Brother Rice (8-1). The Raiders will host that game no matter which team wins.

Stevenson (8-2) struck early with its potent passing offense, but the Raiders answered with Mooney’s 1-yard run and an electrifying 74-yard touchdown. The teams were tied at 14 at halftime.

“The first quarter, we were way too crazy,” Bucaro said. “We settled down a little and realized, ‘Hey, we can hang with these guys. We have a ballgame on our hands, just calm down and play the right way.’ ”

The Patriots scored first in the second half but missed the extra point. Huntley again answered, and the defense held on the rest of the way, with numerous Raiders coming up big.

Sophomore defensive back Michael Talesky intercepted O’Donnell in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Frederick had three leaping catches of his four receptions. Alec Coss turned a short pass into a 58-yard gain in the first quarter to set up the first touchdown but was lost with what likely is a broken collarbone.

Raiders first-year coach Matt Zimolzak told his team “That’s got to be one of the best games I’ve ever seen played.”

Eventually, it was Bucaro, Jones and Oladipo with their three consecutive sacks.

“We knew if we stopped them there, it could be the game,” Bucaro said. “We were going crazy. It was crazy. I feel like maybe they weren’t as tough as we were in the fourth quarter.”

The win marked back-to-back first-round wins in Class 8A for the Raiders, although last year they were a high seed playing at home against Minooka.

“We count on the offense to make plays and the offense has to count on the defense to make plays,” Zimolzak said. “We’ve fed off each other all year and that’s a tribute to how well this team meshes and works together.”

Class 8A Playoffs

Huntley 21, Stevenson 20

Huntley 7 7 7 0 - 21

Stevenson 14 0 6 0 - 20

First quarter

S-Korinek 8 run (Worwa kick), 4:25.

H-Mooney 1 run (Zion kick), 1:04.

S-M. Marchese 34 pass from O’Donnell (Worwa kick), 0:02.

Second quarter

H-Mooney 74 run (Zion kick), 6:11.

Third quarter

S-H. Marchese 65 pass from O’Donnell (kick failed), 11:03.

H-Frederick 4 pass from Mooney (Zion kick), 6:55.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING-Huntley: Mooney 21-147, Beaudette 22-76, Team 2-minus 2. Totals: 45-221. Stevenson: Korinek 12-45, Sibo 5-43, Wax 2-14, O’Donnell 3-minus 23. Totals: 22-79.

PASSING-Huntley: Mooney 9-14-0-117. Stevenson: O’Donnell 21-32-1-328.

RECEIVING-Huntley: Frederick 4-29, Coss 2-68, O’Mara 2-17, Rodgers 1-13. Stevenson: Sibo 10-92, H. Marchese 6-127, M. Marchese 4-64, Capstick 1-45.

TOTAL TEAM YARDS-Huntley 338, Stevenson 407.

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