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Even though Maine West (1-4) had a Cinderella storyline picked out, the Warriors' homecoming fairy tale did not have a happy ending.
Niles North (2-3) came into town playing the role of the wicked stepmother, capturing a 29-27 victory in a Central Suburban North opener Friday in Des Plaines.
Both teams were looking to go into the second half of their season on the right note while taking an early stronghold on the conference race.
North wasted no time jumping out to an early lead with an 86-yard kickoff return by Eddie Rodriguez to open the game.
Vikings running back Barrington Wade ran for 90 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown, and quarterback Charles Long threw for 196 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
"You need to get into a rhythm and find chemistry with your team to feel comfortable in these types of situations in a close game," said Long about Maine West's rally in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors, who outgained the Vikings in total yardage, were just a little too late as the clock ran out.
Maine West coach Chris Hare was pleased with the way his team battled the whole game and did not give up.
"I'm very proud of the boys for never quitting and competing until the final play," Hare said.
Warriors quarterback Joe Marella put together an impressive final drive, going 8-for-8 for 85 yards and a touchdown, which brought the Warriors within 2 with four minutes left.
Marella finished with 247 yards in the air while racking up 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Maine West, which will play Highland Park next week, will be looking to bounce back with a win and get back into the mix in conference play.
"We just need to come back and feel that we can compete with anybody," Hare said.