The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Huskies even football record with 35-0 pounding of N. Marion


September 15, 2021

Benny Westcott

Kaden Zajic looks for running room against North Marion as Trenton Smith (24) clears a path for him.

During a post-game breakdown Friday, Sept. 10, at North Marion High School in Aurora, Sweet Home's football team, fresh off a 35-0 win over those other Huskies, mobbed first-year Head Coach Ryan Adams, celebrating his first victory at the Class 4A program's helm.

"It was fun. It was a good moment," Adams said. "Winning is always a lot more fun."

A week after their 49-12 opening loss to Marist, ranked the state's No. 2 team this week, Sweet Home struggled a bit in the first quarter to capitalize on offensive drives, but the Huskies eventually found their rhythm.

"We were kind of amped up," Adams said, explaining the slow start. "Our guys are young, so they are still used to competing for four quarters in a varsity football game. The first two drives, we had momentum going, but when we got closer to the end zone, we missed a couple of wide-open guys."

The scoring drive kicked off for the Huskies with 9 minutes, 41 seconds left in the second quarter when junior quarterback Heath Nichol found junior receiver Kaden Zajic for a 28-yard touchdown pass. On the ensuing kickoff, the Huskies recovered an onside kick and marched downfield, with senior running back Daniel Luttrell ultimately punching the ball across the goal line with a two-yard run.

The Huskies scored again before halftime, when Nichol passed to senior receiver Russ Holly for a 13-yard touchdown, giving Sweet Home a 21-0 lead.

Sweet Home extended its lead in the second half when Nichol connected with junior wide receiver Brady Nichols for a 35-yard touchdown pass, then with Holly for a big 59-yard TD.

The Huskies defense held strong, securing the 35-0 victory on the road.

"The passing game was pretty effective this week, and we figured it would be," Adams said. "We used the quick-hitter stuff to open up a more vertical passing game. We saw some holes in the film we could exploit."

According to Holly, "We struggled a bit in the first quarter, but we turned it up the last three quarters. It's a big step up from last week. It's good to see us having fun now, focusing on the fundamentals, and doing our jobs."

Nichol concurred. "We really came together and put together some good drives," he said. "Our performance started off pretty rough, but we got a spark going at the start of the second quarter."

The varsity quarterback admitted to nerves in his second game at the position, but he began to feel more confident as the game progressed. He said that in the week of practice ahead, the Husky offense can work on improving by "making our routes a little more crisp."

Benny Westcott

Jacob Ingram finds some running room.

"Coming from last week's (loss to Marist), it was good getting a win after that." Luttrell said, adding that the team brought a lot of energy and focused on not underestimating North Marion.

"We didn't take anything for granted tonight," he said.

Luttrell gained 46 yards on 15 runs, and Nichol ran for 28 yards on five attempts.

Zajic was the Huskies leading receiver, gaining 126 yards on four receptions. Holly picked up 67 yards on three catches.

Looking ahead, Adams said, "We are just going to keep working on us, and controlling what we can control."

The Huskies, 1-1 overall, hit the road again next week, squaring off against 3-0 Madras, a team that bested Sisters 16-7 on Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17.


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