About the only thing that St. Charles East's Joe Hoscheit didn't do Friday night was participate in the annual Kick-A-Thon.
The versatile 6-foot, 215-pound senior contributed mightily on offense, defense and special teams while helping lead the Saints (2-1) to a 23-13 victory over cross-town rival St. Charles North (0-3).
Hoscheit, who scored all 3 of his team's touchdowns and accounted for 121 yards of offense from his fullback position, also converted a first down on a fake punt run for 2 yards deep inside the Saints' 20-yard line and completed a 19-yard pass to Brannon Barry on a 4th-and-4 fake punt during the same series.
"You can't ask for anything more than to have your senior captain, who has been with you for three years, do what he did tonight against his rival," said Saints coach Mike Fields, whose team has now beaten St. Charles North 5 consecutive seasons.
For the third consecutive week, the North Stars dug themselves an early hole after Saints junior Mike Candre recovered a fumbled snap from center at the 26-yard line on North's first play from scrimmage.
Six plays later, Hoscheit rumbled into the end zone on first-and-goal at the 1-yard line, putting the Saints on top 7-0 with 8:46 left in the opening quarter.
"It is disappointing because you want your team to get off to a good start," said Gould, who was coaching in his final Cross-town Classic after earlier announcing his retirement following the 2012 season. "When they get up, you're kind of catching from behind again. It does make it a little more difficult."
The North Stars bounced back and tied the game in the final minute of the first half.
Relying on a few big plays, including a 39-yard run by George Edlund (20 carries, 70 yards), a 28-yard pass completion from quarterback Ryan Fischbach to Benjamin Kaplan (5 catches, 152 yards), and a 15-yard pass from Fischbach to Garrett Johnson on 4th-and-11, the North Stars capped a 10-play, 87-yard drive with Edlund's 1-yard TD run with 51 seconds remaining before halftime.
Female kicker Kat Stutesman booted the game-tying PAT to tie the game at 7-7.
However, Pat Frio delivered a 37-yard field goal against the wind as time expired to give the Saints a 10-7 halftime advantage.
Early in the third quarter, a poor punt left the Saints with excellent field position in the red zone. After Barry's acrobatic 9-yard reception on 3rd-and-8 kept the drive alive, Hoscheit punched the ball in from 5 yards out to make it 16-7 (PAT kick failed).
After another costly fumble halted a St. Charles North scoring opportunity late in the third quarter, the North Stars finally pulled within 3 on Kaplan's 29-yard TD reception of Fischbach's bubble screen pass with 3:43 remaining.
Trying to run out the clock, the Saints were left with a crucial 3rd-and-5 play from their own 44 in the final 2 minutes.
Enter Hoscheit once again.
Hoscheit caught a swing pass from Jimmy Mitchell and slipped a pair of tackles before cutting to the middle of the field on his way to the end zone. The 56-yard play made it 23-13 with 1:19 remaining.
"I saw some blocks and luckily it was open," said Hoscheit. "I just tried to run hard. I was a little gassed at the end."
"That was unbelievable," said Fields. "That was Joe. You get those times where you can't help but get emotional and this is one of them. We were going to win or lose with Joe -- we decided that early in the week. And Joe didn't do it by himself. It was a team effort."
Defensive lineman Andrew Szyman's sack and fumble recovery in the final minute sealed the decision.
"It was great to end the game like that and secure the win," said Szyman. "This is the biggest game of the year for us."