Casey Oliver was, by his own admission, nervous.
The Crystal Lake South junior kicker certainly didn't display any nerves in booting a 42-yard field goal with 0.8 seconds remaining to give the Gators an exhilarating 32-29 win over Jacobs in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division action in Algonquin Friday night.
"I was very nervous before the kick," said Oliver. "But, I told myself even if I miss it we would still be tied and we would go into overtime. The kick felt great off the foot. "
South coach Chuck Ahsmann had faith Oliver could convert the game-winner.
"He has never made one that long in a game," said the Gator boss. "But he has made them that long in practice and he was booming the ball in pregame. "
It was certainly a tale of two halves.
South (5-3, 4-2), which became playoff eligible with the win, actually took the lead after a 61-yard run by Chris Ivers with 6:31 left in the initial quarter. Zevin Clark scored on a run for a 2-point conversion and the Gators led 8-0 after one quarter.
Jacobs junior quarterback Bret Mooney put on a passing display during the second quarter. Mooney threw 3 touchdown passes, two to Jake Gierlak of 13 and 46 yards, and one to Hunter Williams for 40 yards as the Golden Eagles (4-4, 2-3) scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter and led 21-8 at halftime.
Ahsmann should bottle his halftime speech as the Gators blitzed the stunned Eagles 21-8 in the third quarter.
Clark scored on runs of 51 and 41 yards and linebacker Brendan Chrystal picked off a Mooney pass and ran 35 yards for a touchdown and the game was tied at 29 after 3 quarters.
"Everybody did their jobs up front and I was just in the right in the place at the right time," said Chrystal. "We stepped up as a team in the second half and really wanted it."
The game was scoreless in the fourth quarter until Oliver's heroics.
"This game is the story of our season," said Jacobs coach Bill Mitz. "This one and the game against Huntley were tough losses."
The Gators, who amassed 281 yards on the ground, were led by Clark with 128 yards on 18 carries and 2 scores while Ivers gained 114 yards on 9 carries and 1 score.
"The offensive line especially in the second half was outstanding," said Clark. "They really stepped us and I had huge holes to run through."
Jacobs will need to win on the road next week against rival Dundee-Crown to become playoff eligible.