Round 2: Naperville N. 29, York 10

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Naperville North’s 29-10 upset win over York in Friday night’s Class 8A second-round playoff game started with offense.

The ninth-seeded Huskies opened the game with an 80-yard touchdown drive before the Dukes responded with scores on two of their first three possessions to take a 10-6 lead early in the second quarter.

From that point forward, however, the Naperville North defense took control of the game. Led by senior linebacker Nick Lifka, the Huskies forced three turnovers in the second half, turning a one-point deficit into a blowout win. While the defense held top-seeded York, the Huskies’ offense scored 23 consecutive points.

“I was thinking about stopping [Ryan Kent] all week,” Lifka said of the Dukes’ leading rusher, who was held to 54 yards on 16 carries.

Lifka intercepted a Jim Nudera pass on the third play of the second half to set the Huskies up with a first-and-goal from the Dukes’ 10, but the offense settled for a field goal after having two touchdowns called back because of penalties. After the Huskies forced another three-and-out, a theme throughout the night, they again had first-and-goal after a long punt return, but settled for a field goal to take a 15-10 lead.

It looked as though the Dukes (9-2) were poised to make a late charge, but Nudera was intercepted by Brandon Sharie, who returned it 38 yards for a touchdown to extend the Huskies’ lead. The offense found the end zone late to cap off the victory.

“All we were trying to do was stop them on the first few downs, put them in passing situations and make a few plays,” said Sharie.

The Huskies (8-3) will host No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor next Friday night.

Player of the game: Naperville North’s senior LB Nick Lifka

Stat of the game: 8. The number of plays the Dukes ran in the second quarter, as the Huskies’ defense settled in.

It was over when… Brandon Sharie returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown to increase Naperville North’s lead to 23-10.

Quote of the night: “Our defense played phenomenal and it was just a great game.” Naperville North quarterback Matt Lacosse