St. Francis quarterback Michael Robinson outdueled Vernon Hills quarterback Brett Peterson in the Spartans' home opener Friday night, winning on a Chris Smith 5-yard touchdown run with 1:06 remaining in the game 28-21.
"We knew they were a good team," said Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken, "We knew they could score. We had our opportunities. They just made a few more plays than we did."
Monken just shook his head when reminded of the game these two teams played last year, in which St. Francis (2-0) won on a 2-point conversion with three-seconds left.
The first half was an offensive show by both teams. There were seven offensive possessions. Vernon Hills (1-1) scored three times and St. Francis scored twice. "You can get much closer than that," Monken said.
The two quarterbacks accounted for all five first half touchdowns. Vernon Hills quarterback Brett Peterson (10 runs for 56 yards, 3 TD) ran for 3 touchdowns and St. Francis quarterback Michael Robinson (10-16, 142 yards, 3, TD, 1 INT) passed for two others, the last one with only six ticks left on the clock. That pass followed a 47-yard pass to Andrew Brundage, who also caught the very next pass, a 16-yard pass for a touchdown.
This followed a touchdown run by Vernon Hills' Peterson less than half a minute earlier.
"That was the turning point of the game," said St. Francis coach Greg Purnell. "When they went up 21-7 near the end of the half, that put us in a very tough position. Getting that touchdown at the end of the half changed everything."
It changed everything because St. Francis came out in the second half and conducted a long drive for a touchdown. The drive last over eight minutes and was finalized with another Michael Robinson touchdown pass, again to Brundage, tying up the game at 21-21.
The game may have ended that way had Chris Smith not entered the game midway through the fourth quarter, following a fumble by Vernon Hills' Sam Maloof. Smith ran the ball seven of the next eight plays, the final run putting St. Francis in the end zone for the victory.
"The offensive line wanted it real bad," said Smith, "They kept saying run behind us and we'll get you the holes."
St. Francis coach Greg Purnell agreed. "The strength of our football team is the inside five. They get it done."
Libertyville 62, Urban Prep 14: Connor Simpson scored 4 touchdowns and rushed for 133 yards on 10 carries, as the host Wildcats improved to 2-0 with the nonconference win.
Libertyville led 14-0 after one quarter and was up 35-14 at halftime. The Wildcats blew the game open in the third quarter, twice recovering fumbled kickoffs by Urban Prep and returning them for touchdowns. Pat McKiernan and Hunter Van Wagner scored the special-teams TDs.
Libertyville quarterback Jack Deichl completed 6 of 9 passes for 84 yards. He had a 22-yard TD pass to Austin Williams.
The Wildcats had 384 yards of total offense.
Waukegan 6, Antioch 3: The Bulldogs scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to stun the Sequoits and spoil their home opener.
Antioch got its only points on Wes Zegan's 25-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Waukegan, which had only 9 wins in the last four years coming into this season, had lost to North Chicago in Week 1.
Antioch fell to 1-1.
Warren 21, New Trier 6: The visiting Blue Devils avenged last season's 21-7 defeat to the Trevians to even their season record at 1-1.