WNHS Thunder offense clicks against J'burg
Woodstock North High School head football coach Jeff Schroeder had a lot to ponder after his team’s first two games. While his team scored 34 points in its first game against Elmwood Park High School, there was a feeling that the offense didn’t quite gel. In game two against Lakes High School, the Thunder only managed seven points on offense against a team that had gone to the 6A quarterfinals in 2011.
The whole thing had Schroeder questioning if he had overestimated how good his offense would be this season.
His team took steps to eliminate his doubts Sept. 7 at Johnsburg High School, trouncing the Skyhawks 41-0.
“It’s huge,” said Schroeder, of the one-sided win. “You don’t know. Is our offense not that good or is the other team just that good? I felt like our offense was good, but we had not had a game where we really clicked yet, and I felt like we had that tonight.”
Click they did. After an uneven first drive in which the Thunder gained 6 yards and punted, they began rolling on their second possession. A drive keyed by several long runs by fullback Ryan Wade was capped by a 2-yard sprint around right end to paydirt by Adam Haimbaugh.
The touchdown was the start of a huge night for Haimbaugh. The senior running back scored three touchdowns on runs of 2, 3 and 21 yards. Haimbaugh also shined on defense, intercepting two passes from his safety position.
“I’ve been looking to get picks quite often,” said Haimbaugh. “I finally got some. It feels good.”
Schroeder was looking for Haimbaugh to step up after starting the season with two less productive performances.
“He’s got a lot of ability and hasn’t had the opportunities yet,” said Schroeder. “Teams that we’ve been playing have been keying him hard, and they’ve been fast. I felt like we needed to utilize him.”
Haimbaugh wasn’t the only star of the evening for the Thunder. Senior quarterback Brian Loftin added two touchdowns of his own on runs of 30 and 39 yards. Wade rushed for 156 yards and capped the scoring with a 45-yard touchdown of his own.
North’s defense dominated the game from the outset. Not only was Johnsburg shut out on the scoreboard, but the Skyhawks had difficult moving the ball for most of the first half.
“Our (defensive) line is playing really well, and we need them to,” said Schroeder. “(Defensive end) Edgar Lopez didn’t play a lot last year, and he worked hard in the offseason. He’s finally a big body that we have in our program. He’s played well all year. He’s been very dominant, and that’s nice to have.”
After opening with their first three games on the road this season, the Thunder finally open up their home schedule this Friday, Sept. 14, against Fox Valley Conference Fox Division rival Crystal Lake Central.
Central comes to town with the same 2-1 record as North. Despite sharing the FVC Fox crown with the Thunder in 2011, the Tigers topped WNHS 42-6 in their only meeting.
“They’re a good program, and they beat us last year,” Schroeder said of his team’s loss to Central in 2011. “They’ve kind of been on top of the Fox consistently, so until somebody beats them, that’s how it is. So we’re looking forward to having them at home and playing as hard as we can.”