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Naperville North fires past Glenbard East
By James Taylor | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 10/1/2011 1:44 AM

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There were plenty of fireworks Friday night in Lombard, as Glenbard East celebrated homecoming against Naperville North.

The host Rams put on a lovely halftime fireworks show, but the Huskies played spoiler and put on their own display of fireworks in the first half en route to a 51-13 victory over Glenbard East in a DVC clash.

Naperville North (4-2, 3-1) got off the bus running, taking an early 7-0 lead just over two minutes into the game. Senior running back Danny Puknaitis scored on a 1-yard plunge to set the tone early for Naperville North.

"All season we've been talking about getting off to a good start and getting everyone in the game," Puknaitis said. "Those goals were accomplished and it was a great win."

The Huskies tagged on two more first-quarter rushing touchdowns to take control of the game, and they never looked back.

"All the credit goes to our offensive linemen; they hit the hole and hit their man and there was a lot of pancakes (blocks) out there," Puknaitis said.

In all Naperville North punished its way for 373 yards rushing, led by Puknaitis' 105 yards and 3 touchdowns, all coming in the first half. Quarterback Tyler Gehr chipped in with 83 yards rushing, and running back Kendall Veluvolu also hit paydirt twice.

"We have a really nice offensive line, led by David Meyerhoff, and we have a fair amount of good backs, led by Puknaitis, that we can shuffle in and out, and they did a great job tonight," Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said. "We try to run inside and outside and do enough in the passing game so people back off us a little bit and let our offensive line go to work."

Glenbard East (1-5, 0-4) seemed overwhelmed in the first half but countered well in the second half behind the yeoman-like effort from running back Malysha Flanders. In all Flanders rushed for a game-high 126 yards and a touchdown, giving the homecoming crowd something to cheer for.

"We had more holes to run through in the second half, and the offensive line was executing their blocks and they played their hearts out," Flanders said. "We found out how good we can be in the second half, now we need to try to win the last three games."

The final three games will be big for Naperville North as they now control its own destiny and looks to rely heavily on its rushing game and defense.

"Our defense has been really good on first and second down and put people in bad positions," Drendel said. "They are good tacklers and we had some big hits early on and I think it kind of shied them away from some catches. Every game in the DVC is a tough one, so you have to be prepared or someone can get you, so we'll be prepared for West Aurora next week. They'll be looking for an upset at their place."