The scenario could not have been any better for Carmel in its East Suburban Catholic battle for first place with visiting Marist Friday night. The visiting Redhawks trailed 63-56 in the second overtime of an incredibly wild back-and-forth thriller and had the ball at the 25, awaiting fourth down.
Marist quarterback Ian Woodworth rolled to his right and threw the ball as high as he possibly could into the back corner of the end zone. As the ball came down from the heavens, it found the hands of 6-foot, 5-inch sophomore Nic Weishar, who stretched as high as he could and hauled in the catch to pull Marist within a point.
A penalty on Carmel gave the Red Hawks the ball at the 1 line for the conversion.
"At some point, you had to figure that one of us was going to go for two and put an end to this," Carmel coach Andy Bitto said. "(Marist) made a gutsy call and went for it."
A quick slant from Woodworth to Ryan Carroll was good for the conversion and an incredible 64-63 double overtime win for the Red Hawks. The victory automatically qualifies Marist for the playoffs at 6-2 and still gives them hope for an ESCC crown when they host Joliet Catholic next week.
Carmel (5-3, 5-2) lost for the third time this year and will need a win at Benet next week to automatically qualify for the playoffs.
"I would say if you paid 5 bucks, you got your money's worth," Bitto said. "It was even more so if you were a Marist fan."
The wild offensive shootout produced staggering numbers that will provide for many sleepless nights for the defensive coaches on both sides.
Woodworth was sensational as he was 32-for-50 for 452 yards and 8 touchdowns, including the game winner to Weishar.
"In practice we work on going up for the ball like that and Ian just threw it up there and I knew I had to go get it," Weishar said of his second touchdown of the night. "I couldn't think about anything that had happened in the past. I play basketball and I looked at that play like going up to go get a rebound."
Marist rebounded after Carmel got off to a blazing start. Senior running back Jordan Kos nearly took down the school rushing mark in the first quarter as two long touchdown runs helped the Corsairs open up a 20-0 lead after one quarter. Kos finished with 274 yards rushing on 23 carries and is just 81 yards shy of Jimmy Potempa's school record. He is also just 4 touchdowns shy of the school mark.
"Jordan is playing awesome and our offensive line is playing great," said senior quarterback Brian Brennan. "We have come to expect that from our offense and we all worked hard together tonight."
Brennan added a pair of rushing touchdowns (48 and 3 yards) and threw a pair of scores, including a 21-yard strike to Jack Schoen that tied the game at 35 late in the third quarter. Brennan also hit Michael Panico for one of Panico's three scores on the night to give Carmel the lead in the second overtime.