Marist makes more big plays than Naperville North

There was lots of big-play offense coming from host Naperville North during its first-round Class 8A football playoff game against Marist.

But the Huskies didn't have enough of it, and the RedHawks won Friday night 42-28.

The 7-3 RedHawks will face either York in the second round.

Yes, Naperville North (7-3) got its offense going. But it was after Marist had scored on its first three possessions of the contest to take a 21-0 advantage.

Two RedHawks did the most on offense. Quarterback Dermot Smyth threw for 171 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 113 yards and two scores. Running back Chris Lofgren was game-high rusher at 208 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"You can't spot a team like that 21 points, but we crawled our way back," said Naperville North's Luke Williams.

The receiver's big night started when the Huskies finally got on the scoreboard.

With 7:05 remaining until halftime, Naperville North took over on its own 14-yard line. Four plays later, quarterback Aidan Gray put the ball in the upper stratosphere and it found a sprinting Williams down the sideline. The result was a 73-yard TD pass. David Olano's first of four extra points made the halftime score 21-7.

"They were our first points and gave us some momentum. It was great," Williams said.

The RedHawks took a 28-7 lead with 1:08 left in the third quarter. But on the first play of the subsequent drive, Naperville North responded when Danny Eloe dashed 80 yards for a touchdown.

For the rest of the contest, the teams traded touchdowns. Gray hit Brock Pettaway on a 20-yard TD throw to help pull his team to within 35-21 with 7:08 remaining in the game.

With just under two minutes remaining, Gray threw to Peyton Seiple for an 18-yard TD pass that closed the game's scoring.

"Marist was good up front. They were more physical at the start," said Huskies coach Sean Drendel. "We missed a few chances. There were some dropped balls. We had tackled well the last couple of weeks. Tonight, we didn't."

Gray finished 17 of 31 for 271 yards. Williams, a junior, caught 8 passes for 168 yards.

"They are two very good players that worked very hard," Drendel said. "We look forward to what Aidan will do in the future (at Northwestern) and we get Luke back."

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