Cross Holmes waited a week for retribution.
Waubonsie Valley's sophomore place-kicker, who had a field goal blocked in a 3-point loss a week ago, set up at Wheaton North's 9-yard line with the football game and season on the line.
Richie Puls' snap was sharp, Eric Esch's hold sound. Cross' kick was up and for the Warriors it was great, a 19-yard field goal with 19 seconds left for a 17-14 victory over Wheaton North at Dick Kerner Stadium in Aurora.
"It was really nerve-wracking considering that it was our unit's fault for PAT (in Week 8). We just didn't connect and we didn't make that field goal. But today all we had to do was pray and we got it done," Cross said after his first game-winner.
"I told him, you've done it a thousand times in practice," said Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy. "Every practice ends with the whole team standing around him screaming and yelling and trying to distract him with no rush, and he's got to make a 40-yard field goal to win the game and put us in the playoffs."
Waubonsie Valley (5-4, 4-4) won the DuPage Valley Conference contest, but the big thing was Cross' kick likely reserved the Warriors a playoff berth. Wheaton North (4-5, 3-5) saw its season end.
"It was a back-and-forth game and at the end they made a kick to win the ballgame," said Falcons coach Joe Wardynski. "Credit to them, good luck to them next week, but at this point I'm just thinking about our kids and how they feel right now."
Waubonsie Valley rallied from a 14-7 third-quarter deficit. Wheaton North tailback Sam Singleton, who ran for 142 yards on 27 carries, scored on a 2-yard run and Trenton Hegranes' kick gave the Falcons a 14-7 lead at 2:05 of the third.
Waubonsie answered with a 12-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that included Quaid Gill's 5-yard run on fourth-and-4 from the 50-yard line. Waubonsie tied it 14-14 after Tanner Westwood's 9-yard pass to Josh LeMoine, the senior receiver bouncing off defenders after a slant route.
"If you want to be a playoff team," Murphy said, "you've got to convert."
The Warriors also converted on fourth down leading to Cross' field goal, Westwood running for 6 yards on fourth-and-2 from Wheaton North's 32-yard line.
"We knew that we needed to keep moving the ball, keep it going because it was a tight game the entire game, so every first down was a big one. Every first down counted," said Warriors offensive tackle Dan Dominiak.
Westwood ran for 33 yards and passed for 116. He opened the scoring on a 3-yard run at 5:28 of the second quarter. Wheaton North quarterback Luke Anthony made it 7-7 at halftime with a 1-yard sneak.
In 2015 Waubonsie Valley entered the playoffs at 5-4 as a No. 30 seed. It advanced to the Class 8A semifinals.
"We won, we're going on, and we're excited to see what we can do in the playoffs," said linebacker Kyle Schroeder. "We're looking to repeat last year."