Downers Grove North dominates Hoffman Estates
On Saturday afternoon, the Hoffman Estates football squad took a trip back in time. Due to a power problem with half of its field lights on Friday night, its season opener with Downers Grove North was postponed to Saturday afternoon.
It was a familiar place for the Hawks gridiron program as it had played in this time slot for its first 29 seasons of existence. Lights didn't arrive to Garber Stadium until the 2004 campaign.
Play resumed with the Trojans' first possession of the football trailing the home team 6-0 at the 9:20 mark of quarter number one.
Unfortunately for Hoffman Estates, it would have preferred to leave that score on the board from Friday night. Downers Grove North returned fully charged and ready for action as it blended a successful concoction of run and pass to post a dominant 36-13 win.
"A lot of people doubted us in this game," Trojans junior TB Noah Battle said. "The majority had Hoffman winning this game. So it put a chip on our shoulders and now we have that chip throughout the whole season."
Thanks to Battle (16 carries, 146 yards, 3 TDs), Downers North (1-0) was able to gain control of the contest with that opening series. Battle went 61 yards on its fourth play from scrimmage to tie the game up at 6 with 7:31 left in the first.
After procuring a Hoffman turnover that placed the visitors at the Hoffman 25, Battle scored from two yards out to make it a 13-6 Trojan lead with 4:37 left in the opening stanza.
After the second scoring connection for the Hawks between QB Aiden Cyr and WR Stephon Sellers (87 yards) evened things up at 13, a 23 yard-scoring strike from North QB Sam Reichert to Ethan Thulin put them ahead to stay at 20-13 with 5:09 remaining until halftime.
Battle then added his third TD from 9 yards out with 55 ticks remaining in the half to expand the DGN advantage to 27-13 at the break.
The game's turning point came after a pair of fumbled snaps by the Trojans' gave Hoffman the football at DGN's 15 for their first possession of the second half. But thanks to the North defense, it successfully repelled the Hawk scoring chance as it could move the football no further than the Trojans' 10. Downers batted down a pair of passes in the end zone by Cyr (17-22 for 207 yards) to quell the threat - Hoffman's last on the afternoon.
A 39-yard Sean Ryniec field goal and a 1-yard QB sneak by Reichert in the third closed out the day's scoring. DGN had outgained the Hawks 290-225 in total offense by game's end.
"Super proud of our kids," Downers North coach Joe Horeni said. "To be able to respond to the adversity that they had for last night with the lights, it was a really great team effort. (There are) certain things we can clean up, but (I'm) really, really proud of our effort."