Naperville North stays alive, slips past Lake Park

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Even after upsetting WW South last week, nothing was going to come easy for Naperville North. But Friday night’s 28-24 victory will definitely help.

The Huskies kept their playoff hopes alive (3-3, 2-2) by edging Lake Park (1-4, 0-4) and, most importantly, evening their record in the Dupage Valley Conference.

“Any time you can win in the DVC, it is a great win,” said senior quarterback Connor Johannes, went 9-of-18 passing for 210 yards and three touchdowns. “It was a good win for us to get us back in contention in conference.”

Naperville North came out red-hot in the first quarter, thanks largely to the precision passing from Johannes. He connected with senior wide receiver Anthony Rehayem on a 34-yard strike and with senior running back DeSean Brown on a 56-yard screen pass to give the Huskies a 14-0 lead.

However, the Lancers’ stagnant offense woke up in the second quarter. Lake Park was able to light up the scoreboard after a two-yard touchdown run up the middle by senior quarterback Booby Accetura trimmed the Huskies’ lead to 14-7. A field goal and possession later, the Lancers went up 17-14 at halftime after an 18-yard pass from Accentura to junior wide receiver Tommie Jackson.

After witnessing their lead vanish, the Huskies were poised to take control in the second half. Rehayem — who finished with five receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns — scored on a 27-yard pass from Johannes to give the Huskies a 21-17 lead in the third quarter.

Nevertheless, the feisty Lancers countered with a score of their own in the fourth quarter. Accentura rolled to his right and found junior wideout Antonio Shenault in traffic for a 10-yard TD and a slim 24-21 lead.

The Huskies did not even flinch. After a critical pass interference penalty was called against Lake Park to give Naperville North a first down, Brown found a hole to his right and scampered for a 58-yard touchdown on the very next play for the 28-24 edge.

Without Brown, who had 140 total yards and two touchdowns, Naperville North coach Sean Drendel does not know where his team would be.

“He’s our best player,” Drendel said. “When he gets going, we get going.”

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