The state’s longest football winning streak is over, but Prairie Ridge may just be getting started after taking Huntley to the final minute Friday in a 35-28 Fox Valley Conference loss.
Even Wolves coach Chris Schremp was not sure what he had this season with a lineup full of new starters. The two-time defending Class 6A state champions start only six seniors.
Schremp came away impressed with his team’s fortitude against Huntley, which is getting votes in The Associated Press Class 8A poll. The Wolves led, 28-27, until the Red Raiders drove 85 yards in 8:06 to score with 41 seconds remaining.
“The future is bright still,” Schremp said. “It’s going to be something of a work in progress, but this is a big step forward to be able to compete with Huntley. We almost beat them.”
Samson Evans, the former quarterback who was three-time Northwest Herald Player of the Year, and offensive lineman Jeff Jenkins are at Iowa. Three other four-year varsity starters off the state championship teams, Zach Gulbransen, Jacob Ommen and Joe Perhats, are all at NCAA Division II Winona State.
The tradition and expectations, though, have not changed.
“We lost, but it’s a wakeup call,” linebacker Josh Crandall said. “Our 2011 state (championship) team lost and said it was the best thing that ever happened to them. I feel the same way.”
Schremp said the Wolves did not dwell a lot on keeping the remarkable streak alive, but just on the week ahead.
“The guys in that room, it’s two games for them,” Schremp said. “It was 28 games with really great athletes and good coaches. To win 30 in a row, it was the combination of some talented, hard-working kids, some coaches that kept that group focused and on task week after week. I’m excited to get rolling with this season. We kind of know what we got now.”
Poll-wise: Prairie Ridge passed Chicago Phillips for the top spot in the Class 6A poll last week, with Cary-Grove at No. 3. It seemed odd since Phillips had nine first-place votes and the Wolves had three.
After a close loss like Friday, Prairie Ridge (2-1) should not fall too far in the rankings.
Huntley (3-0) beat Jacobs, 42-7, in Week 2 and then rallied to beat Prairie Ridge. The Red Raiders finish the gauntlet of the FVC’s top teams this week when they host C-G.
Good hands: Woodstock North scored a touchdown in the final seconds against Richmond-Burton on Friday, pulling within two points of the Rockets.
North needed to convert an onside kick and then somehow get into field goal range in 11 seconds. R-B, on the other hand, was confident in its hands team.
A week earlier, Aurora Central Catholic attempted an onside kick on every kickoff against the Rockets. So R-B had plenty of practice recovering onside kicks.
“So we’re ready for it,” coach Mike Noll said. “We’ve had it in for a while and we’re ready for it.”
After a North false start on the first attempt, the Thunder moved back five yards and R-B’s Mike Kaufman fell down on the kick, securing the 9-7 victory.
“I’m proud of our kids because we hung in there and played tough football for 48 minutes,” Noll said. “This was a game we felt strongly about because we lost, 35-3, last year.”
R-B’s only touchdown of the night came on a 21-play, 96-yard drive, which was aided by a defensive pass interference call against North on a third-and-long situation.
• Sean Hammond contributed to this report.