The football congress at Dundee-Crown has spent the last 19 tumultuous years trying to figure out a plan to pass legislation to get into the playoffs.
Some years they came close to striking a deal. Some years the Chargers adjourned with nothing and went back to the drawing board searching for other ways.
Then there was a crisp, fall October evening like Friday when somehow all the stars and planets aligned, proving this time the Chargers wouldn't fail.
With a little bit of pressure to get a deal done before it really went into high gear next week against Jacobs, players from both sides met in the D-C Bowl and ended the playoff shutdown that had haunted the program for nearly two decades, a time span that began when no one on the current roster was born.
The deal was signed, sealed and delivered in the Chargers' 49-21 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division win over McHenry in Carpentersville and more symbolically with 1:18 left in the fourth quarter, Dundee-Crown's student section, which later spilled onto the field after the final buzzer in a stirring scene with all the players, chanted something that hasn't been heard for the football program on Kings Road since 1994: Playoffs! Playoffs! Playoffs!
"This is really what we expected because we're a really good team," said junior running back Malik Dunner, who rushed 6 times for 99 yards and a touchdown. "(Coach Vito Andriola) is a really good coach and all he talked about was the playoffs and we made it. Now we just got to get a game in the playoffs."
D-C (6-2, 3-2) was eligible 2 weeks ago but the sixth win guarantees the Chargers a spot in the dance in 2 weeks. Andriola said before the season D-C could go 7-2 and felt he had his best backfield ever, even with Cody Lane out for the season. Not only is D-C a win away from his assertion, the backfield was no exception.
Behind great blocking by D-C's offensive line, the group of Dunner, Caleb Parson, Cordero Parson and T.J. Moss ran for 316 of D-C's 347 rushing yards. They outgained McHenry 369-302, but had outgained the Warriors (2-6, 0-5) 243-142 at the half, 221-96 in rushing department. D-C did not punt the entire game and capitalized on 2 interceptions, 2 turnovers on downs and a blocked punt by Joe Welzien. D-C scored on every McHenry turnover.
"We were ready," an emotional Andriola said. "One thing we talk about changing culture and changing culture is learning about how to prepare and that's one thing we worked so hard on, we only had half of suspension this game. We're learning how to become a program. (Cary-Grove) never has suspensions. We talked about getting good people in the program, and that's what we're trying to do.
"I'm happy. That was our goal. We want to host a game, so we need to win another game. It should be exciting."
In the process, the Chargers also snapped a 22-game losing streak to McHenry, and did so in D-C fashion. The Chargers scored on their first 4 possessions, which included 2 touchdown runs from Caleb Parson from 1 and 7-yards out, a 53-yard run for Dunner and a 41-yard run by Moss late in the second quarter. McHenry tied the game at 7 with 2:29 left in the first but Dunner's TD run made it 14-7 and his interception at the McHenry 42 on the next Warrior possession with 25 seconds left in the first really put D-C on the map for good. The Chargers scored on their next 5 possessions and the rout was on.
"Coach talked about it all week, we had to get this win," said Caleb Parson, who finished with 14 carries for 107 yards and 4 touchdowns. "It was going to come down to this win and we want to be in the playoffs so we got the W."
Caleb's brother Cordero finished with 6 runs for 35 yards and Brandon Brooks added 11 carries for 35 yards, which included a 16-yard TD run.