High School: Round 2 recaps

Round 2: H-F 34, Waubonsie V. 28

November, 6, 2010
FLOSSMOOR, Ill -- Up 21 points heading into the fourth quarter, Homewood-Flossmoor quarterback Timothy Williams knew the game wasn’t over.

“Even with the lead, I kept telling our guys to stay focused and keep battling,” Williams said.

The junior signal caller must have sensed something, as his Vikings watched their three-touchdown lead evaporate with less than 11 minutes left.

“We just let the fourth quarter get away from us, but thankfully we responded late,” said Williams.

Respond they did, defeating Waubonsie Valley, 34-28, in double overtime in the Class 8A football playoffs.

Homewood-Flossmoor dominated the first half, thanks to early rushing touchdowns by Malik Norman and Williams. The Warriors, on the other hand, accumulated only two first downs in the first half, due much in part to the early dominance of the Vikings’ defensive line.

“We did a nice job in the first half, controlling the clock and playing tremendously well defensively,” said Vikings coach Craig Buzea.

After building a 14-0 lead heading into the half, the Vikings picked up where they left off at the start of the third quarter, thanks to a 15-yard touchdown run from Norman. The senior ball carrier finished the night with 190 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

But the Warriors, finally found life on offense, as Devon Morgan’s 1-yard touchdown dive gave Waubonsie Valley a pulse in the fourth quarter.

The very next possession, Williams’ second-down pass was picked off by Waubonsie’s Zach Steele, and the big man rumbled 45 yards to pull his team within eight.

With less than six minutes remaining and inside the Warriors’ 15, the Vikings failed to convert on fourth down, giving possession back to Waubonsie Valley. The Warriors promptly drove 89 yards in 17 plays to tie the game at 21 and send the game into overtime. Both teams tallied seven points on their first possessions; but in the second overtime, a 10-yard touchdown run by Williams followed by a clutch fourth-down stop by Homewood-Flossmoor’s defense sealed the win for the Vikings.

“The resiliency this team showed tonight cannot be overlooked coming off a 1-8 season just a year ago,” Buzea said.

The Vikings move on to face Naperville North.

Player of the game: Timothy Williams, QB Homewood-Flossmoor. Although erratic at times, Williams fueled the team, especially in overtime.

Stat of the game: After being held to zero points on just three possessions in the first half, the Warriors’ offense exploded in the game’s final 11 minutes and in overtime as Waubonsie put up 28 unanswered points.

It was over when… Waubonsie Valley quarterback Tommy Kolzow’s fourth-down pass to Demetrius Gray fell just one yard short of the end zone with the Warriors down six in double overtime.

Quote of the night: “We made sure to get this community…these fans behind us this offseason in hopes that they would support us like they are now. To see it all come together like this is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. -- Timothy Williams

Round 2: Lyons 21, Sandburg 20

November, 6, 2010
LaGRANGE, Ill. -- It was a do-or-die situation in a packed house, and as play began, every bit of momentum shifted from host Lyons Township to the visiting Eagles of Sandburg High School. Luckily for the Lions, there are four quarters to every game.

After giving up 10 early points, Lyons Township rallied to a 21-20 victory at Bennett Field in the second round of the Class 8A football playoffs.

Senior quarterback Brian Kelley accounted for the Lions' first two scores and junior running back Jaime Jones’s three-yard plunge put Lyons on top with under a minute to play in the third quarter.

"This was huge," said Kelley, amidst a pack of Lions fans. "This is the first time LT has gotten this far in the modern playoff era and this is the most wins all-time for an LT program. It feels great to do this as a senior."

It wasn't a pretty start for the Lions (10-1), who went three-and-out on their first two possessions. Sandburg (8-3) marched down the field and took a 7-0 lead on a five-yard run by Chris Lopez. After forcing another Lyons punt, Sandburg again moved the ball on the ground, setting up the first of two Taylor Zalewski field goals (43 and 32 yards) that gave the Eagles a 10-0 advantage.

Lyons finally started to move the ball in the second quarter, and after a 15-play, 80-yard drive that took more than six minutes off of the clock, the first of Kelley’s two rushing touchdowns cut Lyons' deficit to 10-7. Sandburg and Lyons traded touchdowns before the half, giving the Eagles the 17-14 lead at intermission.

Sandburg began the third quarter with a three-and-out, then forced a Lions’ turnover on downs. On Sandburg’s ensuing drive, Zalewski hit his second field goal to cap the scoring for the Eagles.
Lyons took its first and only lead of the ballgame when Jones found paydirt with :56 seconds to play in the third, the final score in the game by either team.

Sandburg, led by Lopez (66 yards rushing, TD) and quarterback Cody Miller (123 yards passing, TD), started its final drive with 5:20 left on the clock. However, after a penalty and back-to-back losses (on a failed lateral and quarterback sack) pushed the Eagles back 17 yards, Sandburg only gained 12 yards on fourth-and-27, giving the ball back to Lyons with 2:14 to play. From there, Jones would carry three straight times to ice the game.

"I was thinking, keep my head up and keep my feet moving. I tell myself that all the time," Jones said. "It was such a good feeling to get that last first down."

Lyons Township will now move on to face Mt. Carmel (9-2) in the quarterfinals.

Players of the game: Lyons Sr. QB Brian Kelley: 21 carries, 77 yds, 2 TDs and 10-for-14 for 119 yds passing. Lyons Jr. RB Jaime Jones, 22 carries, 88 yds, TD.

Stat of the game: Due to penalties and strong Lions defense, Sandburg lost a total of 22 yards on its final drive of the game.

It was over when: Jones rushed for five yards and a first down with :47 seconds left in the game, allowing Lyons to run out the clock.

Quote of the night: "For the seniors, we didn't want this to be out last game. LT's been great to us. We don't want it to end." -- Kelley

Round 2: Naperville N. 29, York 10

November, 6, 2010
NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Naperville North’s 29-10 upset win over York in Friday night’s Class 8A second-round playoff game started with offense.

The ninth-seeded Huskies opened the game with an 80-yard touchdown drive before the Dukes responded with scores on two of their first three possessions to take a 10-6 lead early in the second quarter.

From that point forward, however, the Naperville North defense took control of the game. Led by senior linebacker Nick Lifka, the Huskies forced three turnovers in the second half, turning a one-point deficit into a blowout win. While the defense held top-seeded York, the Huskies’ offense scored 23 consecutive points.

“I was thinking about stopping [Ryan Kent] all week,” Lifka said of the Dukes’ leading rusher, who was held to 54 yards on 16 carries.

Lifka intercepted a Jim Nudera pass on the third play of the second half to set the Huskies up with a first-and-goal from the Dukes’ 10, but the offense settled for a field goal after having two touchdowns called back because of penalties. After the Huskies forced another three-and-out, a theme throughout the night, they again had first-and-goal after a long punt return, but settled for a field goal to take a 15-10 lead.

It looked as though the Dukes (9-2) were poised to make a late charge, but Nudera was intercepted by Brandon Sharie, who returned it 38 yards for a touchdown to extend the Huskies’ lead. The offense found the end zone late to cap off the victory.

“All we were trying to do was stop them on the first few downs, put them in passing situations and make a few plays,” said Sharie.

The Huskies (8-3) will host No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor next Friday night.

Player of the game: Naperville North’s senior LB Nick Lifka

Stat of the game: 8. The number of plays the Dukes ran in the second quarter, as the Huskies’ defense settled in.

It was over when… Brandon Sharie returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown to increase Naperville North’s lead to 23-10.

Quote of the night: “Our defense played phenomenal and it was just a great game.” Naperville North quarterback Matt Lacosse