Huntley hands Jacobs 1st loss, ties for FVC lead

Huntley entered Friday's Fox Valley Conference game against undefeated Jacobs, the No. 3-ranked team in The Associated Press Class 7A poll, with something to prove.

"All week, we said we have nothing to lose but we everything to prove," said Red Raiders quarterback Sam Deligio, who transferred from Jacobs after his sophomore year. "We really stated something big. It feels good for me, and it feels good for my team. We've been looking forward to this week all season pretty much and we got it done. It feels good."

The Red Raiders scored on their first play from scrimmage Friday night and never trailed the Golden Eagles, topping Jacobs 37-20 to climb into a first-place tie in the FVC.

After Huntley's defense came up strong and forced a turnover on downs on Jacobs' first possession, all it took was one play for the Raiders to get on the scoreboard.

Deligio (8-of-11 passing for 108 yards, 33 rushing yards) faked a handoff on the first play and found a wide open Jake Witt (3 catches, 76 yards) for 59 yards down the middle of the field to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 5:29 left in the first quarter.

"We knew they were very aggressive on the run, so we just used that to our advantage," Deligio said. "We got them to bite, and it worked out. It felt great. It looked like the summer 7-on-7s, that's what I thought about that play."

After a field goal on its next possession, Huntley (4-1, 4-1 FVC) got quick points on special teams, thanks to a blocked punt by Zack Garifo, who picked up the ball and ran 48 yards for the touchdown and a 17-0 lead.

Huntley's defense also got big games from Dashaun Manning, who had a sack, and Zach Rysavy, who had an interception in the fourth quarter. The Raiders also recovered an onside kick in the game.

Huntley coach Mike Naymola felt Friday's win was a big statement for his program.

"Right now it's the biggest win of the year," Naymola said. "Jacobs is just a tremendous team and they give you so many things to worry about. I was so happy with the defensive effort. We started playing for each other, a very disciplined brand of football. We took shots when we needed to. I'm so proud of the guys, and I'm so happy for the community.

"We needed this one. People didn't quite believe if Huntley was going to be a pushover or if Huntley was going to be back. I'm not saying we're officially back, but we're getting there."

The Raiders got big rushing performances from Haiden Janke (31 attempts, 145 yards) and Connor Ardell (4 attempts, 70 yards). Both Janke and Ardell scored in the win, while Deligio added a rushing score, as well.

Jacobs (4-1, 4-1 FVC) was led by Antonio Brown, who ran 20 times for 226 yards and three touchdowns. He scored from 76, 6 and 1 yards out. Quarterback Max Benner went 7-of-14 passing for 112 yards and an interception, Paulie Rudolph ran for 52 yards, and Grant Stec had four catches for 74 yards.

Jacobs coach Brian Zimmerman felt his team had too many uncharacteristic mistakes and penalties.

"They came out and attacked us," Zimmerman said. "Our kids were lackadaisical today, we let big plays come up on us in special teams that absolutely killed us. [Huntley] did a nice job defensively up front with our guys.

"At the end of the day, we've got to be better and we've got to clean up all three phases of the game. Their tailback [Janke] did a great job. He ran all over us, and we weren't prepared. That starts with me. We weren't ready to go."

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