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Naperville North downs West Aurora
By Kevin McGavin | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 10/8/2011 1:14 AM

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Naperville North needed only 4 plays and 53 seconds to send a message to West Aurora in DuPage Valley Conference football action Friday night.

Tyler Gehr called his own number to conclude the 67-yard drive with a 15-yard scamper; the Huskies went on to score on their opening five first-half possessions to spoil the Blackhawks' capacity homecoming crowd in Aurora.

With the 45-21 victory Naperville North (5-2, 4-1) became playoff eligible while simultaneously extending the Blackhawks' postseason drought to 17 seasons.

"Our offense has been hitting on all cylinders in the first halves," Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said. "We're really big and physical up front. Our goal is to get better and better."

The Huskies' offensive front allowed Gehr and halfback Danny Puknaitis to operate with impunity for much of the opening half.

Ron Coluzzi had an 18-yard field goal to extend the Huskies' lead to double digits late in the opening quarter, and Puknaitis' 54-yard burst around the right side made it 17-0 early in the second.

"The offensive line, they were just outstanding," said Puknaitis, who finished with a game-high 147 yards on 22 carries, plus a pair of ground scores. "We can't underestimate this (West Aurora) team. I saw a huge opening (on the long run). I saw the safety, pulled a move on him and was home free from there."

Defensively, Naperville North ended one West Aurora series on downs, and another three-and-out set up the Huskies' fourth first-half scoring drive.

DeSean Brown did the honors from 1 yard out one play after Gehr found Tim LaScale on a 57-yard bomb.

With the West Aurora halftime fireworks spectacle being prepared, the Blackhawks (2-5, 0-5) finally answered the Huskies' 31-point run.

Nate Zinzer, the Blackhawks' diminutive all-conference wide receiver, was the heart and soul of the team.

The senior caught 12 passes on the night while accumulating 215 all-purpose yards.

Zinzer capped a 3-play, 80-yard drive with a 32-yard screen pass down the right side.

"We decided to throw the ball more," Zinzer said of the Blackhawks' sense of urgency to end the second quarter and begin the third. "We started to spread the field out a lot more. I thought we should have been doing it the whole game."

Richie Renner came in to man the helm for West Aurora and directed the team on back-to-back, fourth-quarter touchdown drives.

Shon Enoch scored from 5 yards out, and Renner connected with Kenny Hine on a 28-yard strike.

"We gave a great effort the whole game," Zinzer said. "Nobody gave up."