Coming off a seven-point loss to Wheaton North last week, knowing that Homecoming distractions would lie ahead this week, Lake Park coach Chris Roll needed his seniors to be ready to go.
In the first half of Friday’s 35-21 win over Naperville North in the DuPage Valley opener, Roll got his answer.
The Lancers (4-1, 1-0) raced to a 21-0 lead at halftime on the strength of two touchdown runs from senior Kenny Jones and a 53-yard TD catch from senior Tommie Jackson. Defensively, Lake Park held Naperville North (2-3, 0-1) to two first downs in the first half.
“We did not have a great week of practice because of homecoming stuff, but there was a really bad taste in our mouths after last week,” Roll said. “I think our seniors deserve a lot of credit because most of our big plays in the first half came from the seniors.”
Jones punched in TDs of 1 and 2 yards to open a 14-0 lead.
“I’m a powerful running back,” Jones said. “I make sure I get where I need to go. The red zone is not a problem.”
After running the ball much of the half, junior quarterback Jaron Fields found Jackson for a 53-yard TD with 10 seconds left in the second. Naperville North thought they had scored a few plays earlier, but the score was wiped out due to a penalty.
“That’s unbelievable for our defense to do that,” Jones said. “I was so proud of them.”
Michael Perry hit Antonio Shenault for a 7-yard score in the third to push the lead to 28-0 before North started to show some life behind backup quarterback Evan Kujawski. Lake Park’s final score came on a 24-yard run from Fields.
After not seeing the field in the first half, Kujawski went 11-for-21 for 186 yards and three TDs in the second half. He found Morgan Osborne for a 71-yard score, and starting quarterback Chris Gajcak for TDs of 10 and 31 yards.
The Huskies, on a three-game losing streak, now face a stiff challenge to make the playoffs with Naperville Central next up in the DVC gauntlet next Friday.
“They’ll bounce back,” North coach Sean Drendel said. “It’s whether we play well or not. The kids are resilient. We’ll see. We have to get better in practice. We have to practice harder. The kids know that. That’s on us as coaches. The little things matter. We keep stressing that.”
Lake Park, however, is riding high.
“We’re really confident for the rest of the DVC, but we still have to make sure we take care of our business and do what we have to do,” Jones said.