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updated: 9/22/2012 12:06 AM

Conant's second-half surge sinks Schaumburg

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By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

Quarterback Danny Modelski and Conant came out their first-half funk to rally past Schaumburg 30-21 Friday at Gary Scholz Field in Schaumburg.

Conant (4-1, 1-0) came from a long way back -- down 14-0 early in the third quarter -- to put up 30 second-half points and claim victory, their second consecutive Mayor's Cup in as many weeks.

"That poor first half was all on me," said Modelski, who was 9-for-25 with an interception in the first half. "The receivers were all open and I was throwing ducks. In the second half we started clicking. The offensive line told me that they had my back, and my mechanics were much better as well."

Modelski (16-for-38, 241 yards) found his rhythm, completing his first 6 passes of the second half while throwing for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns to rally the Cougars.

"It was pretty obvious we were not ourselves in the first half," Conant coach Bill Modelski said. "We just looked flat and sloppy. Thank goodness our defense kept us in the game. Then we adjusted and started making some plays on offense."

Schaumburg (4-1, 0-1) put together the only scoring drive of the half. The Saxons marched 66 yards in 7 plays with Nick Anzelmo connecting with Stacey Smith on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 5:32 left in the quarter to make it 7-0.

Early in the third quarter, the Saxons' Wil Akogu caused a Conant fumble and Ed Helly recovered for Schaumburg at Conant's 5-yard line. Two plays later, Anzelmo scored on a 4-yard run to make it 14-0 with 9:01 left in the third quarter.

Conant woke a bit, roaring back to tie the game at 14. Danny Modelski threw an 8-yard touchdown pass Zach Smith. He then hooked up on a 72-yard scoring play to Tim Manczko, who was helped along the way by a huge block from Elias Gardener.

"I came out on the second half, not worrying about how I played in the first half," said Manczko, who finished with 9 receptions for 123 yards. "That was a huge play for us, because it got us even."

It didn't stay even for long, thanks to a huge kickoff return by Juwaan Richard, who returned the ensuing kick 46 yards to the Conant 19. Five plays later, Sadarriss Patterson scored on a one-yard run to make it 21-14 with 11 second left in the third quarter.

Conant came back to tie the game on 24-ayrd pass from Modelski to a wide open Gardener to tie the game at 21 with 10:35 to play.

Conant was driving for the go ahead touchdown on its next possession, but Schaumburg's OJ Sally picked off Modelski at the Saxons 6.

Schaumburg then picked up 2 of its 12 penalties, moving the ball back to the Saxon 3-yard line. On third down, Anzelmo threw a quick screen pass to Stacey Smith, who was brought down in the end zone for a safety by Conant's Troy Piccinini to make it 23-21 with 4:45 to play.

"We were working on slip screen all week," Piccinini said. "I was surprised that they ran that play in the end zone. Stacey Smith, that guy can run and juke. But I squared up and made the tackle."

Conant got a short field of its own when Tyler Labarbera forced a fumble and Mike Kos recovered for the Cougars at the Schaumburg 6. Manczko then scored on a sweep to make it 30-21 with 2:22 left.

Schaumburg, which at that point had managed just 38 yards in the second half, came up with a 39-yard pass from Anzelmo to Richard down to the Conant 9. After three incomplete passes, Schaumburg opted for a field goal to pull the game within a touchdown. But the Saxons were called for illegal procedure and the ensuing attempt was wide.

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