Grayslake North falls just short in bid for 1st quarterfinal

By virtue of staying disciplined to running the football, No. 11 seed Harlem rallied past the visiting No. 3 seed Grayslake North 24-20 Saturday night in Machesney Park to advance to a Class 6A quarterfinal round home date next weekend vs. No. 2 seed Prairie Ridge (10-1).

It's the second-ever Elite Eight appearance for the Huskies and first since 1977 when it played in the Class 4A quarterfinals.

The Wolves beat No. 7 Kaneland (7-4) 57-22 earlier Saturday afternoon in Crystal Lake.

Harlem senior QB Austin Redmon guided his squad (8-3) on a 10-play, 65-yard march which he completed with a 2-yard rush to paydirt with 5:41 left.

"We knew we were a powerhouse (running) team. We were coming into that drive looking to run the ball and that's what we did putting it in the end zone," Redmon said.

This was in response to the second scoring connection by North (9-2) between Jacob Donohue and Cameron Bates (34 yards) that erased the Huskies' 17-7 lead that it achieved on a 22-yard scoring run by DeAndre Young (14 carries, 99 yards) in the early stages of the second half. It gave the Knights a 20-17 advantage.

Donohue (12-31 for 142 yards) attempted to regain the lead for the Knights on the ensuing possession moving them from their own 37 to the Harlem 24 only to be unable to find another receiver successfully. He would toss four straight incomplete passes, the last of which fell short at the Huskies' goal line with 1:36 left as Young was on the coverage.

Redmon (8 carries, 39 yards) would procure the game-clinching first down on a four-yard run from his own 33 to seal the deal.

Knights coach Brian Johnson praised his team's valiant struggle for what would've been the program's first quarterfinal berth.

"You got to give all the credit in the world to them," Johnson said. "They played a pretty good game. The big play got us a little bit. Part of our game plan was trying to limit (those) big plays. They (Harlem) hit a couple of them and right at the end we can't ask for anything else than to have a chance to win the ball game. Kudos to those guys."

Knights senior two-way lineman Nate Alfaro, who committed to Harper College's track and field program recently, spoke of the legacy that he along with 21 other seniors left behind including a share of the Northern Lake County Conference title with Antioch and Wauconda after a 3-6 season last fall.

"I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys," Alfaro said. "We put in the work, but stuff like this happens. It's life and you have to keep going. Now everyone knows how this (experience) feels. I hope our younger guys build upon this and keep it going."

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