Glenbard North halfback passes stun Naperville North

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Already known as a strong program, Glenbard North’s challenge is to prove it can stay there without Justin Jackson.

Stymied for much of Friday’s game at Naperville North, the Panthers turned to some trickery to finally gain traction offensively.

A pair of halfback touchdown passes highlighted a second-half surge as Glenbard North rallied to pull off an improbable 20-19 victory over Naperville North.

Devion Hodges and Jace James each tossed TD passes as Glenbard North (2-2) used a 20-point second half to stun the Huskies.

Hodges, who had 147 rushing yards and a TD on 28 carries, found James for a 27-yard score late in the third quarter to get the Panthers to within 19-13.

“Our lineman just finally started to get to people and everything, so (I have to give credit to) the guys up front,” Hodges said.

Although the Huskies led for much of the game, the Panthers continued to push forward, gaining their first lead with just over a minute to go in regulation.

James’ 21-yard heave to Luke Siperly with a scant 1:11 left put Glenbard North in front for good, completely erasing a deficit that was as high as 13 points.

“To be honest with you, we couldn’t get anything in the run game. Nothing was working, so we just had to take a chance and throw it up there, see if it would work,” James said. “And it did. It paid off.”

Naperville North (2-2) — which allowed 353 rushing yards and 428 total yards in last week’s loss to Phillips — came home with something to prove.

The Huskies’ defense and special teams rebounded nicely, continually setting up the offense to operate within a short field after capitalizing on Panther miscues in the first half.

The Panthers were limited to just 50 yards in the first half as four of their five drives concluded in two turnovers, a blocked punt and a three-and-out as the Huskies took a 13-0 lead into halftime.

“You never really get Glenbard North in a position to run gadget plays, so you don’t see them very often. They execute them well,” Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said. “They did a great job and we didn’t make enough plays down the stretch and they did. That’s what it comes down to, so it’s a hard loss.”

Finding each other five times for 59 yards and a 25-yard score, Chris Gajcak and D’Angelo Hyshaw got the Huskies’ offense going in the first half.

Hyshaw’s 25-yard TD reception came two plays after Chris Zhang recovered a blocked punt for Naperville North late in the first quarter. Gajcak later added a TD run to account for his team’s only points in the second half.

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