Without an offensive point for a little over 7 quarters during the early portion of the 2013 football season, Crystal Lake South's offensive explosion came at the right time.
Scoring 2 touchdowns in a 4 minute, 47 second span in the fourth quarter, the Gators were able to rally for a 14-7 Fox Valley Conference crossover win over city rival Crystal Lake Central at Central's Metcalf Field Friday night.
"Our frustration on offense was there," said South coach Chuck Ahsmann. "We didn't look good. But the kids hung in there and we made some big plays."
Trailing the host Tigers (1-1) 7-0 heading into the fourth quarter, the Gators scored on their first play of the final period.
Getting ample time to throw from his offensive line, senior quarterback Austin Rogers lofted a perfect 24-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Lapak with only 8 seconds elapsed in the fourth. Casey Oliver's extra point kick tied the score at 7-7.
On the first play of their next drive, the Gators (1-1) seized the lead for good. Rogers connected with Tyler Baker for a 54-yard scoring play with 7:05 remaining in the game. Oliver's PAT was perfect and South held a 7-point advantage.
"Marian Central had a great defense and Central has a great defense," said Rogers. "We knew it would be tough to score points. We know we have the offensive weapons to score points. Both Tyler and Brandon ran great routes."
Baker wasn't done with his heroics for the night. His interception with 2:25 left in the game pretty much sealed the win for the Gators. The junior also punted 5 times for 220 yards for an average of 44 yards per kick. His precise punting kept the Tigers in bad field situation all night.
Baker also completed a 40-yard pass to Reese Tannhauser on a fake punt.
"It feels good to help the team win," said Baker. "Austin threw a perfect pass on the TD and I was in the right place on the interception."
After Central marched 86 yards on 15 plays on its first drive capped by a 7-yard TD run by Kevin Peisker, the Gator defense allowed only 119 total yards and 5 first downs the rest of the game.
"We made some small adjustments on defense after their first drive," said Ahsmann. "The kids adjusted and we shut down a good Central offense for the better part of three quarters."