A storied rivalry was not one of the storylines when Grayslake North hosted Woodstock North on Friday.
Woodstock North is playing its third varsity season, while Grayslake North is in its sixth year.
The two teams delivered a wide variety of offensive fireworks and at the end of the night, the visiting Thunder were posing for a team photo to commemorate its first playoff berth. Woodstock North won 47-35 and also clinched a share of the Fox Valley Fox title.
Grayslake North led 28-13 at halftime, but the Thunder roared from behind to score 34 straight points in the second half.
"That's our season," Knights coach Steve Wood said. "Teams don't do anything different. It seems at the first sign of adversity, we just don't play well. I don't know why. It's very disappointing, obviously, because we have a great offense and we have kids on defense that can play well."
Grayslake North (4-5, 3-3) could have finished 5-4 with a win, but the school's first postseason trip would have been a real long shot because of the Knights' lack of playoff points.
At halftime, Grayslake junior quarterback A.J. Fish was an incredible 14-for-15 through the air for 232 yards. He slowed down in the second half, but still completed 24-of-27 passes for 309 yards and 2 interceptions. Fish also rushed for 114 yards, while only one of his pass attempts hit the ground.
Senior receiver Josh Cokefair finished his career with a flurry, grabbing 11 catches for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns.
"Coming into the season we thought we had high hopes of going to the playoffs," Cokefair said. "We all worked really hard. I couldn't ask for a better group of guys to play four years with. I don't know what else to say."
On the other side, Woodstock North (7-2, 5-1) literally stayed close to the ground, relying on 5-7 junior fullback Ryan Wade to carry the ball 33 times for 189 yards. Running sort of an option and wing-T hybrid offense, the Thunder piled up 333 rushing yards after halftime.
"These kids, you don't become conference champs in three years without having some kids with a lot of character," Woodstock North coach Jeff Schroeder said. "(Wade) might be 5-7, but he's about 185 (pounds). He's a horse in the weight room and he's so low. People had trouble tackling him. I think he's got 700 yards now and it's all up the middle. So that's a hard-nosed kid."
Cokefair scored the game's first two touchdowns on passes of 74 and 33 yards. When Andrew Soulis dove into the end zone from the 2-yard line with 0.6 seconds on the clock, the Knights led 28-13 at halftime.
To start the second half, though, Grayslake North had just 2 first downs on its first four possessions, while Woodstock North scored 5 straight touchdowns. Thunder junior quarterback Brian Loftin added 131 yards rushing on 14 carries.