Varsity football defeats North in second matchup

Bella Chasen, Staff Writer

The Naperville Central varsity football team defeated the Naperville North Huskies in the first playoff game 28-16. The away game was held at North on Oct. 29. 

After defeating Metea Valley High School in the Dupage Valley Conference, the Redhawks advanced to play Naperville North in round one of the IHSA playoffs. 

“[The game] was really just a back and forth,” head varsity football coach Mike Ulreich said. “It really came down in the first half to some key plays in the red zone.”

Some of these key plays included a touchdown catch by wide receiver Tristen Hall and a punt return for a touchdown by wide receiver Reggie Fleurima. The team gained another two by the end of the game, allowing only two touchdowns from the Huskies.

“When the game got to the fourth quarter, we were really just able to wear them down and run the ball,” Ulreich said.  

Another key player in the defeat against the Huskies was Owen Prucha, Central’s varsity quarterback. 

“Owen Prucha played such a key role in the game,” Ulreich said. “He ran for almost 200 yards in the game. His ability to be able to put our team on his back at times and just run the ball at will was great.”

In preparation for the playoffs, the Redhawks prioritized training for their upcoming games. 

“We put in all that work in the offseason, [like] morning liftings, and there’s a lot of work that goes into a week and a season,” said Ulreich. “It’s exciting to play in the playoffs in general, but for it to be at Naperville North and against a team that is a rival and beat us previously in the season, it was meant to be.” 

The football team lost in their first matchup against the Huskies, encouraging them to use this second chance in the playoffs to prove themselves. 

“We were frustrated that we weren’t really able to prove what kind of team we were the first time we played them,” Ulreich said. “So I think everybody was just excited to prove what type of team we had and that we were the better football team.”

The Redhawks were defeated by Loyola Academy in the second round of the playoffs 36-7, marking the end of their 2021 football season.

“They’re a very good team,” junior and strong safety Ryan Spickerman said. “I think if we played them again, we would have had a better shot at it.”

As seniors transition out of the team, underclassmen will rise up to take their place.

“I enjoyed playing with all the guys,” Spickerman said. “I learned how to be a good practice player, and I’m definitely going to miss all of the seniors.”