Justin Jackson and Glenbard North had no interest in leaving their fate in another field-goal attempt.
Exorcising a decade worth of demons against Wheaton Warrenville South, Jackson's 4-yard touchdown run in overtime gave the No. 9 Panthers a 27-21 win on Friday night at Red Grange Field in Wheaton.
Glenbard North (6-1, 5-0 DuPage Valley Conference), which beat WW South for the first time since 2003, lost to the Tigers last year on a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown on the game's final play. On Friday the Panthers had a 33-yard go-ahead attempt with 1:28 left in regulation hook wide left.
Enough was enough. Two Glenbard North offensive plays in overtime, two Jackson runs, touchdown.
"We weren't leaving anything to chance," said Jackson, who ran for 160 yards on 33 carries. "We've lost too many games to Wheaton South on blocked field goals, 50-yard field goals by high school kickers, this and that. We just wanted to put the ball in the end zone and end it."
Glenbard North's last win in Wheaton came in 2002, but the series hasn't been without its share of close calls. Four times, including 2011, WW South won by a touchdown or less, field goals looming large.
"All the teams that should have won this game in the past, that's who we're playing for," Jackson said. "Teams that went off the field crying because they knew they should have beat Wheaton South and never did in their high school career. This win is for anybody who ever put on a Glenbard North uniform."
WW South's special teams have been a sore spot this year and factored into Friday's loss.
Tigers quarterback Ryan Graham guided the team 76 yards in the final drive of the fourth quarter, but a 31-yard field goal on the last play of regulation went wide right. In the first possession of overtime, a second kicker pushed a 27-yard attempt wide left.
Earlier, a shanked Tigers punt set up Glenbard North's first touchdown.
"Kicking has been a struggle for us," WW South coach Ron Muhitch said. "That game against Glenbard North has come down to a field goal over the years. (Glenbard North coach) Ryan (Wilkens) would be the first to tell you he's been on the short end. Every game against them is like this."
Its back to the wall, WW South (3-4, 3-2) must beat Glenbard East and Wheaton North to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and second time in the 21-year history of the high school.
"That's an awful lot of pressure to play your rival and have to win to get in," Muhitch said. "But that's the hand we've dealt ourselves."
On the other side, Glenbard North looks ahead to a showdown with Wheaton North next Friday in Carol Stream for the DVC title.
"It's a great challenge for us. Wheaton North is a very good team," Jackson said. "It's good to get this win."
Panthers quarterback Brian Murphy, 11 of 16 for 130 yards, completed 8 passes on third down and also ran for 55 yards on eight carries. Murphy's 5-yard touchdown run started the scoring. After an Isaiah Campos touchdown run for WW South, Murphy came back with a weaving 31-yard scramble for a score. WW South immediately answered, Corey Davis electrifying the crowd with an 88-yard kickoff return to make it 14-14 after a quarter.
Campos' 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave WW South its first lead, up 21-14, but Glenbard North tied it with 8:23 left in the game as Murphy rolled out and found Kendall Holbert for an 18-yard score.
"Brian made a lot of plays for us," Wilkens said. "He played a great game."
Graham threw for 116 yards and ran for 80 more for WW South.