Down 4 points.
One minute, 51 seconds remaining on the game clock.
Eighty yards of turf in front of you. No timeouts.
In quarterback Bobby Suchecki's mind, it was time for some backyard football in Rolling Meadows' Mid-Suburban East showdown on Friday night with visiting Hersey.
"That's everybody's dream," Suchecki said. "That two-minute drive for all of it."
Suchecki orchestrated a march down the field, and with 10.9 seconds remaining, the Mustangs stood 8 yards away from the touchdown they needed to win the game. Suchecki connected with wide receiver Matt Campbell on a back-shoulder fade route with 6.8 seconds left to get the winning score.
Hersey came close to breaking through with a series of laterals on the ensuing kickoff, but the Mustangs were able to pounce on a loose ball to secure a 24-21 homecoming victory.
The victory creates a three-way tie for the MSL East lead, as Meadows, Hersey and Elk Grove are each 3-1 in the division. But the Mustangs' 3-point margin of victory gives them a tie-breaker should each of them win their Week 9 matchups.
Prior to Suchecki's game-winning touchdown pass, he couldn't handle an exchange from center cleanly and fumbled the ball before scooping it up and spiking it to stop the clock. Originally, the officials signaled incomplete pass. Then, the refs got together to discuss the play, in which Hersey had picked up the ball before the play was blown dead.
"It was a little scary when they huddled up there because we didn't know what they were going to come back with," Suchecki said.
The refs came back with an intentional grounding ruling that backed up the Mustangs 5 yards and caused a loss of down, but allowed them to keep the football. The break in play allowed Suchecki and Campbell to have a little chat.
Campbell said, "When (the refs) were in the little huddle together, (Suchecki) called me over, after he (Suchecki) finished talking to the refs, and said, 'Hey, back-shoulder fade to you. Be ready. Make sure you go get it.'"
Campbell said the only thought in his mind after hearing his quarterback tell him the play was coming his way was that he had to catch the ball.
The final touchdown pass capped of a 26-for-44 passing night for Suchecki, for 293 yards and 2 touchdowns. Campbell caught 8 passes for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Kevin Montero rushed 25 times for 138 yards and a touchdown for the Mustangs (5-3, 3-1).
"I don't think I've ever been through a season with such a great bunch of guys that have gone through so much," Rolling Meadows coach Matt Mishler said. "With injuries and sickness, and horrible losses. Early in the year, we're getting beat by 40-points. They've continued to show resolve, and continued to keep their eyes on the prize. And it's about the next game."
Hersey (5-3, 3-1) got monster games from quarterback Jack Warner (28-of-44 for 387 yards, 3 TDs) and receiver Eddie Miklasz (10 catches, 262 yards, 2 TDs). Receiver Cole Monckton had 11 catches for 93 yards as well. Despite the big offensive numbers, two red zone interceptions really cost the Huskies.
"We didn't play well enough to win tonight," Hersey coach Dragan Teonic said. "We didn't coach well enough. We didn't play well enough. We didn't play good enough defense to be a championship team, and you can't do that."