Jacobs had the late momentum and the Huntley defense on its heels in the final seconds.
Then the Red Raiders took a deep breath and dug in those same heels.
The Golden Eagles thrilled their homecoming crowd with 2 touchdowns in a span of 1:15, drawing within a point on quarterback Brett Mooney's 5-yard keeper to the left side with 11.4 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.
Jacobs coach Bill Mitz opted to go for the 2-point conversion and the win. "No doubt about it," Miz said of the choice. "No question about it."
Jacobs lined up in the same formation and ran the same play with Mooney keeping to his left. However, this time he was stopped at the end of the line of scrimmage by crashing senior cornerback Josh Sepsey, whose tackle, coupled with Ethan Connor's onside kick recovery, sealed a 34-33 Huntley victory in a FVC Valley classic.
"I had a feeling they were going to go back to it because they scored on it," Sepsey said. "I just bit on it. I had to make that tackle. I just sort of dove at his legs. I knew if I got his legs he wasn't going nowhere."
The win was the fourth straight for Huntley (4-2, 4-0) and its first against Jacobs (3-3, 1-2) since 2009.
"It feels great," Sepsey added. "After two years of not beating Jacobs, to come back and win here at their homecoming on their field feels amazing."
Sepsey's clutch defensive play was a throwback to the first half, when both defenses dominated. The Red Raiders held a 7-6 lead at the break, but both teams made halftime adjustments and exploded for 27 points apiece in the second half.
Jacobs took its only lead of the game, 13-7, when Mooney connected with tight end Jake Dziewulski for a 36-yard scoring strike.
The Red Raiders countered with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Garrick McDaniel and a 1-yard plunge by Connor to go ahead 20-13 with 54 seconds left in the third quarter.
Jacobs was knocking on the door, but on 2nd-and-goal Mooney was hurried by Huntley linebacker Brandon Mabry and defensive back Demario Hughes. The junior signal caller threw off balance on the run, and Huntley junior cornerback Mike Andrews intercepted the pass 7-yards deep in his own end zone.
Rather than take a knee, Andrews ran it out of his end zone and raced to the Jacobs 17-yard line. Jake Scalise scored on a 4-yard run 4 plays later to give the Red Raiders a 27-13 lead with 7:16 left to play.
"I knew going into the game that if we got pressure on the quarterback he was just going to throw it up," Andrews said. "The running back and the tight end went out. I stayed in the middle. I figured the result was going to be a lob and I caught it. When I was running the ball I felt like I was dreaming."
Jacobs regained some momentum with a 31-yard scoring burst from sophomore Josh Walker. Playing just his second varsity game, Walker rushed for 147 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. His second score, a 1-yarder sandwiched between a 17-yard Kameron Salee touchdown for Huntley, made the score 34-27 with 1:26 left in the fourth quarter.
Jacobs went for the onside kick and came up money when the bouncing ball popped up and into the hands of Hunter Williams. The Eagles moved 47 yards to the 2-yard line, fueled by a 34-yard pass from Mooney to Jake Gierlak. But after Mooney scored on a keeper, Sepsey diagnosed the ensuing 2-point conversion to help Huntley win a wild one.
"It was crazy," said Sallee, who rushed for 1 touchdown and threw for 2 others, including a 78-yard touchdown pass to Jake Lackovic in the first quarter. "We were all up in the air, then back down, then back up. Uh ... it was crazy, but it feels amazing. I've always wanted to beat Jacobs. I've grown up with most of the Jacobs kids and beating them is that much better."
The win sets up a showdown between Fox Valley Conference Valley Division unbeatens next Saturday afternoon, when the Red Raiders travel to state-ranked Cary-Grove (6-0, 3-0).
Huntley will take the field with the confidence it can win close games after pulling out consecutive, down-to-the-wire victories.
"That's what champions do; they fight back through adversity," Huntley coach John Hart said. "Like getting a touchdown scored on you, then giving up the onside kick and then a touchdown. Then you stop the conversion. That's what champions do. That's what I'm most proud about. They're just resilient, hungry, great kids."