Nate Magiera scored his first-ever touchdown by picking up a fumble and rumbling 60 yards for a Wauconda score on Friday night for the game-winning score.
The credit, it turns out, goes to the promise of a big team breakfast for the Bulldogs' defense.
Wauconda held off visiting Vernon Hills 20-14 in a North Suburban Prairie game in Wauconda.
Wauconda's Luke Fugle made the hit on Cougars quarterback Brett Peterson on a fourth-and-8 at the Bulldogs 29.
Magiera picked up the loose ball and scampered his way into the end zone, which put the Bulldogs up 20-7 with 8:57 left in the fourth quarter.
"I saw the ball on the ground, and we've been practicing that multiple times this season." said the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Magiera. "Scoop and score -- I remember coach (Shawn) Rudolph say that the entire defense would get breakfast.
"I was thinking touchdown, touchdown, and that breakfast was right there. It seemed slow, but I felt like I was running 100 mph."
Magiera's TD helped Wauconda (3-1, 1-1) cap a spurt of 20 unanswered points.
The Bulldogs' Austin Piekarski (7 catches, 98 yards) scored on touchdowns of 6 and 24 yards from quarterback Austin Swenson (10-for-23, 123 yards) late in the second and third quarters.
Wauconda lost running back David Starkey to a knee injury early in the second quarter and then went more to a passing attack.
"We'll know more about the injury by Sunday," said Wauconda coach Dave Mills. "We did that last week against Grant and put up 36 in the fourth quarter. We're comfortable doing it, but we wanted to get a little more of a running game going.
"This team is finding its own identity, and they played defense. I thought our special teams made plays and our defense was phenomenal."
Vernon Hills (1-3, 0-2) tried to rally late. Gabe Cotton scored on a 20-yard pass from backup quarterback Jacob Hallendorff with 2:30 remaining and cut the lead to 6 points.
The Cougars tried an onside kick, but the Bulldogs' Keith Blomberg fell on the ball.
After Wauconda was stopped on four plays. Vernon Hills had one last drive in the final minute.
Blomberg pulled off an interception at the Cougars' 45-yard line with 45 seconds left on the clock.
"I just decided to cover the gap," Blomberg said. "I saw the quarterback looking in the direction right away. I just stepped into it."
The Cougars' other score was on a 1-yard run from Sam Maloofs (24 carries, 147 yards) early in the second quarter.
"We just made a lot of mistakes," Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken said. "We just made too many of them."