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It seems fitting that a lost fumble ended Saturday's North Suburban Conference Prairie Division tilt between North Chicago and Grant.
As North Chicago desperately attempted to get into the end zone in the waning seconds, Grant forced a fumble and came up with the recovery to preserve a 16-12 victory that was anything but crisp and pretty.
Between the two teams, there were 12 fumbles on the game, five of which were lost. There were also 3 interceptions (all thrown by Grant) and a total of 22 penalties for 175 yards.
But Grant isn't being picky at this point. A win is all the previously winless Bulldogs wanted, and all they needed to retain a sliver of hope for the playoffs. If Grant, which is now 1-4 (1-1 Prairie), can win out, a playoff berth is still possible.
North Chicago, meanwhile, drops to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the Prairie.
"Now our confidence is up, and the (homecoming) crowd was into it today," Grant running back Jeremy Bredwood said. "I think it's going to be a good season now. I think we can turn it around."
Credit Bredwood for getting the U-turn started. He made some game-changing plays for the Bulldogs.
The first one came midway in the second quarter when he returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. That cut North Chicago's lead to 12-7.
"That spark on the kickoff return was definitely something we needed," Grant coach Kurt Rous said. "Jeremy is strong, he's got football instincts, he's a track guy. He's got a big heart and he never quits on anything."
The Bulldogs showed no quit in crunch time, which was capped by Bredwood's second big play of the day.
With 3:23 remaining, and down 12-9, Grant forced North Chicago, which was working deep in its own territory, into a 3-and-out. The offense got the ball back at the North Chicago 23-yard line and got right to work with a couple of quick runs by Marshall Clark.
Then, Clark turned into a passer and, with the halfback option, found a sprinting Bredwood for 21-yard touchdown pass.
That put Grant, which got its other points on a third-quarter safety by Patrick Purvin, ahead for good.
"It was crazy," Bredwood said of his winning touchdown. "I just saw the ball get released and ran for it and fortunately I caught it. We work on that in practice."
North Chicago coach Glen Kozlowski wasn't at all happy with the way his players defended that play.
"It's kids just doing what they want to do," Kozlowski said. "The kid that is going for a sack is supposed to be on the kid that caught the touchdown.
"You can't win when you do stuff like that."
North Chicago had built up a 12-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Warhawks opened the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run by running back Arnold Shead (100 total yards on 15 carries) with 2:05 left in the first quarter. Then, safety Jamero Shelton scooped up a Grant fumble in the second quarter and sprinted 73 yards for a touchdown.
Grant had 5 fumbles (2 lost) on the game while North Chicago had a total of 7 fumbles (3 lost).
"We've got different quarterbacks in there all the time, so that's part of it," Rous said of his team's fumble problems. "It's tough in our (option) offense with all the handoffs and dives and double dives. We just don't have (the timing or chemistry) down yet."
The revolving door behind center probably doesn't help.
Four Grant players threw passes against North Chicago: Marshall, Bredwood and quarterbacks Simeon Tate and Spencer Lhotka. Tate and Lhotka rotated in and out.
The Bulldogs have been in flux at the quarterback spot ever since senior starter Jake Bychowski went down with an ankle injury against Libertyville in Week 3.