Vike gridders let game slip away in fourth quarter

Richard Gutierrez (right), a senior wide receiver on the Huntington North High School varsity football team, prepares to stiff-arm defensive back Aidan Friedel (left) during a game against DeKalb at Kriegbaum Field on Friday, Sept. 22. The Vikings lost, 41-23.
Richard Gutierrez (right), a senior wide receiver on the Huntington North High School varsity football team, prepares to stiff-arm defensive back Aidan Friedel (left) during a game against DeKalb at Kriegbaum Field on Friday, Sept. 22. The Vikings lost, 41-23. Photo by Steve Clark.

A close game slipped away from the Huntington North High School varsity football team in the fourth quarter, resulting in a 41-23 loss to DeKalb on Friday, Sept. 22.

Down 28-17 to the Barons at the start of the final frame, the Vikings narrowed that deficit in dramatic fashion just over two minutes into the quarter. Huntington North linebacker Charlie Agnew recovered a fumble by DeKalb quarterback Kyle Dunham and ran the ball back 73 yards for a touchdown. While the hosts failed on a two-point conversion attempt, they still trailed their guests by less than a touchdown, 28-23.

The Barons, however, countered with a touchdown of their own to go back up by double digits, 34-23, with 6:34 remaining. The visitors then tallied an insurance touchdown to ice the game.

Huntington North, 0-6, 0-4 in the Northeast 8 Conference, traded touchdowns with DeKalb in the first quarter to knot the game up at 7. The second frame saw the Barons get crafty on special teams, firing squib kicks on back-to-back possessions and recovering each. DeKalb turned each of those recoveries into touchdowns on the ensuing offensive drives to craft a 21-7 advantage.

The Vikings responded with a field goal by Aidan Hosler, made possible after a 50-yard run by quarterback Austin Spahr. The hosts’ signal-caller later scampered into the end zone from 17 yards out to trim the visitors’ lead to 21-17 by halftime. That score was set up by defensive lineman Colton Hasty, who recovered a fumble by the Barons on their 41-yard line with 46 seconds left until the half.

DeKalb, 1-5, 1-3 in conference, reached the end zone once in the third quarter to craft the 11-point lead they would take into the final frame.

Huntington North’s offensive attack was centered around Spahr, who totaled 190 of the team’s 270 yards. The senior completed 13 of 24 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown and ran the ball 10 times for 71 yards.

Sophomore wide receiver Deven Newcomb caught three passes for 47 yards and a score. Junior wide out Andrew Smekens made six catches for 46 yards while senior pass-catcher Richard Gutierrez hauled in four tosses for 24 yards.

Gutierrez also supplemented Spahr’s work on the ground with seven carries for 43 yards.

Defensively, the Vikings were paced by Agnew and senior defensive back Kaleb McVoy, who each registered 9.5 tackles.

DeKalb’s offensive effort was highlighted by Dunham, who completed 19 of 28 passes for 277 yards and five touchdowns. His favorite target was Colin Goebel, who caught seven balls for 148 yards and three scores.