It was a perfect season so far. 9-0. Huntley had already beaten one of the best teams in the state, Cary-Grove. Heading into the playoffs ranked second in their division, Huntley played Minooka in their first game.
Even with the rainy weather and the soaked field, Huntley was still able to get their offense going against Minooka, scoring seven touchdowns with 466 total yards in a 49-7 blowout. Sophomore Eric Mooney had 243 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Huntley looked to continue the explosive offense into the next week against fifteenth ranked Oswego.
Unfortunately, the Red Raiders were unable to continue the offense into the next week being shut out by Oswego in the first half. Luckily, the defense was able to step up and hold the Panthers to only a field goal. The defense was led by junior Larry Oladipo, who had some pretty big hits that got Raider Nation cheering.
The Raiders came out of the half determined to stay in the game, scoring on the second play after halftime, on a 72-yard rush by Mooney, which gave the Raiders the lead 6-3 after a missed extra point by senior Jon Alberts. Oswego answered with a touchdown putting them back up 10-6. The Panthers scored another touchdown after a 46-yard pass, which put them up 17-6 at the end of the third quarter. Huntley followed by scoring on their first drive in the fourth quarter on another Mooney rushing touchdown, but were unable to convert the two-point conversion on a play that looked eerily similar to the play that ended the Colts and Patriots game a few weeks back.
The Raiders got the ball back on their own 5-yard line with a little over four minutes left in the game. The Raiders drove down the field with short passes and running plays by Mooney. Huntley got the ball to the Panthers 4-yard line with 1:30 left on the clock. After the first two downs were unsuccessful, the Raiders lined up ready to run a play, but were penalized after a false start by Mooney which made it third and goal on the 9-yard line. The next play was a pass play which was tipped at the line of scrimmage and bounced to the receiver in the endzone.
Fourth and goal. The entire season was coming down to this one play. The crowds on both sides fell quiet, knowing the importance of the next play. A slant route. A pass from Binetti to Mooney. He was open, but overthrown right out of the reach. Raider Nation couldn’t believe it. The season was over.
“What I love most about this group the most is that we played through that much adversity and still gave ourselves a chance to win it,” said coach John Hart. “It takes a lot of grit.”
One thing is for certain about this football team, they started a legacy and gave this school something to cheer about.