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Daily Herald's 2014 Season Coverage
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Article updated: 8/30/2014 8:58 PM
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It's worth the wait for Round Lake
 

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It's worth the wait for Round Lake
 

Nearly 23 hours after Opening Night was kicked off, all four quarters at Round Lake's football stadium were finally in the books.

But the host Panthers and DePaul Prep, back again after lightning forced their game on Friday to be suspended until Saturday afternoon, still needed more time to settle the score.

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Play resumed with about five minutes left in the third quarter and DePaul Prep tied the game seven plays into the first series. There was no other scoring in regulation.

In overtime, Round Lake got the ball first and scored a touchdown on its second play. Then the Panthers came up with a huge tackle-for-loss during DePaul Prep's possession that helped preserve a 21-14 victory.

"It was our defense. We were focused on containing our areas and we were there. We just wanted it," Round Lake cornerback Curt'avious Bridges said of the 25-yard loss that he and the Panthers forced upon DePaul Prep's featured running back, Kevin Evans.

On the Rams' second play of overtime, Evans took a handoff and found himself in trouble. Round Lake had shut down every hole and Evans started running backwards. Bridges remained in pursuit until he eventually pulled him down.

"That felt great," Bridges said. "It felt like I did something big for the team."

Up to that point, Evans had rushed for 77 yards during Saturday's action alone. The loss pushed DePaul Prep back to the 34-yard line and two harried passes by quarterback Jonathan Gladstone fell incomplete to end the game.

"We were plugging the gaps strong and trying to take every option away and it worked," Round Lake coach Jordan Eder said. "Our defense played really well yesterday (Friday) and again today. "Curt'avious just got in there and it was great. He made a huge play.

"That's going to be a huge confidence boost for us moving forward."

The Panthers went ahead in overtime on a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cole Steger. On the play before, Steger hit Angel Martinez with an 8-yard pass to give Round Lake momentum towards the end zone.

"That gave me a pretty big boost," Steger said of the quick overtime score. "And I know it gave our defense a big boost to step it up and hold them.

"Coming off a 1-8 season last year and an 0-9 season before that, it's a really big step for us to be able to start out 1-0," said Steger, who was a wide receiver and the Panthers' backup quarterback last year. "We've been working hard for 10 months lifting weights. Most of us joined track to get faster and work on our speed. We put in a lot of work."

Steger had a total of 3 touchdowns for Round Lake. In addition to his score in overtime, he tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter on Friday night with a 15-yard run.

In the second quarter, he found Chris Perry for a 15-yard touchdown pass that gave Round Lake a 14-7 halftime lead that held all the way through the suspension.

DePaul Prep got on the board first, scoring on the opening drive of the game on Friday night with a 20-yard run by Chris Smith. Its other score came with 2:22 left in the third quarter on Saturday with a 1-yard run by Gladstone. That tied the game at 14-14.

"We came out here and we really wanted to put pressure on (Round Lake) with (a quick score once play resumed)," DePaul Prep coach Patrick Heffernan said. "But we just couldn't put them away. They kept coming at us and give them some credit, they made some big stops."

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