A win for suicide awareness

Huntley High School’s varsity football team takes a win over Jacobs on suicide awareness night.


T. Rainey

Wide receivers Jacob Witt and Connor Ardell stand beside the offensive line.

By Taryn Rainey

A sea of purple jumping up and down in the student section of the stands follows every cheer started by the Raider Nation leaders. Down on the sidelines, Boston Bower and Luke Griskey pace back and forth, trying to keep the energy of the rest of the team up. The offensive line inching closer to the end zone every play. 


Huntley High School’s varsity football team won 37-20 against Jacobs last night, Sept. 23. The game was like no other, as it highlighted the skill the team has been working for.

“We [have been] cleaning up some of the things that we’ve installed and making sure mentally that everyone is ready to go,” head football Coach Mike Naymola said. 

Huntley worked relentlessly to stop Jacobs‘ strong offense until they allowed their first touchdown late in the first half. A red zone fumble from at the one minute mark took away another scoring opportunity. However, Huntley still led 17-7 at the end of the first half. 

The third quarter was scoreless for the Red Raiders until junior Jacob Witt had a diving catch, earning them a first down and setting them up for another scoring opportunity. Witt was also responsible for the Huntley’s first touchdown in the first quarter. Soon after the catch, Connor Ardell ran through Jacobs’ defense for another Red Raider touchdown. 

Junior Haiden Janke was one of the strongest players last night with three first downs and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Janke’s fourth-quarter touchdown would not have been possible without sophomore Zachary Rysavy’s interception. Rysavy made multiple key tackles that stopped Jacobs from getting first downs or gaining more ground.

“It was electric all game,” Rysavy said. “Our team never gave up. Our team always had energy.”

This game served as a moment bigger than football. Huntley High School’s Hope Squad helped set up a purple out theme to spread awareness for suicide prevention. 

Hope Squad is a peer-to-peer suicide prevention program where the members learn and train in question, persuasive, and response training. Before the game, the members sold purple shirts to students.

“We learned that mentioning suicide to someone if you’re talking to them, it doesn’t make them think about suicide, it’s a way to get them away from it,” Hope Squad member Amanda Oliver said. “We need this in our school. We need suicide awareness games.”

The purple sea turned into a purple river of students running onto the field, celebrating the team’s win. The win against the Jacobs team always means a lot to the Red Raiders; however, the recognition for suicide prevention means so much more. 

“[We] want [everyone] to be on this awesome Earth because there’s really nowhere better to be,” Rysavy said.