Any more games like Friday night, and Addison Trail coach Paul Parpet will worry about his health.
The Blazers overcame 6 turnovers, including 2 interceptions returned for scores, 12 penalties, and a 21-13 fourth-quarter deficit, eventually leading to a 28-27 double-overtime victory at West Chicago.
"If the rest of the (games) are like that, I may just keel over," Parpet said. "What a great way to start the year."
Sophomore quarterback Matt Gontarek overcame 4 interceptions, including a 20-yard return for a score by West Chicago's Ryan Weier with 1:45 left in regulation. The touchdown gave the Wildcats a 21-13 lead, seemingly putting the game out of reach.
The Blazers' young signal-caller didn't panic. Starting from his own 42-yard line, Gontarek orchestrated a 5-play, 58-yard drive, taking 1:19 off the clock. He completed four passes on the drive, including a 5-yard scoring toss in the flat to sophomore Javvion Bradley with 18 seconds left, cutting the West Chicago lead to 21-19.
Running back Alex Glowacki tied the game on a 2-point conversion run.
"You come out here with a lot of young kids, you turn the ball over six times and still come out with a win, I'm very proud of our guys," Parpet said. "For a lot of them, it was their first time in a varsity game. What a great win."
Both teams failed to score in the first overtime as West Chicago was stopped at the 1-yard line twice and Addison Trail missed a 25-yard field goal.
The Blazers took over the first possession of the second overtime, beginning with their 12th and final penalty of the night: a false start, which pushed them back to the West Chicago 15.
After a 2-yard run by Gontarek, the quarterback hit Glowacki on a 13-yard scoring strike, followed by a PAT for what turned out to be the eventual game-winner.
For West Chicago, however, new coach Bill Bicker wasn't going to go quietly in his first game at the helm. Wildcats quarterback Jordan Lelito found Dean Pauley from 10 yards out, cutting the Addison Trail lead to 28-27.
Bicker decided to go for the 2-point conversion and the win. Lelito's pass attempt to Joel Griffin was off target, but the officials threw their flag and initially called offensive pass interference. However, the crew huddled and reversed the call to defensive pass interference and moved the ball down to the 3.
The next pass fell incomplete.
Bicker, however, was proud of his team and the decision to go for the win.
"At the end I looked the guys in the eye and we all wanted to go for 2 and the win," he said. "We wanted to be in control of our own state. If we go to another overtime, who knows what can happen. Dean Pauley played his heart out tonight. Sometimes you make the play and sometimes you don't."