Hampshire could have played it safe and settled for a halftime tie after Ryan Phelps' interception deep in his own territory late in the first half of Friday night's Fox Valley Conference football season opener with visiting Dundee-Crown.
But the Whip-Purs weren't sorry they gave senior Drew Dalby a shot to make something happen in the final 44.4 seconds. Dalby led a 70-yard march downfield and the second of his 4 touchdown passes 9.8 seconds before intermission sparked a 28-14 victory.
"That was fun," the 6-foot-5 Dalby said after hitting on 21 of 25 passes for 271 yards in his first varsity start. "We had a three-and-out our first possession and we had to keep our heads up, keep the sticks moving and we made plays. Our receivers made plays today."
Dalby's first two touchdowns went to Devin Baldridge (5 catches, 61 yards). Erik Starrenburg and Nicolas Rummell (6 catches, 134 yards) had second-half touchdown grabs and Zachary Golden had 8 catches for 58 yards as Hampshire took a 28-7 lead with 7:55 to play.
But it was a 48-yarder from Dalby to Rummell on a seam route on third-and-5 from its 35 that set up the go-ahead touchdown.
"We were going to run a couple of plays and see where we were at and go from there," Dalby said. "It was perfect. I saw the safety move to the left a little bit and Rummell ran it perfectly right down the seam."
Three plays later, Dalby fired a strike to Baldridge to complete the big momentum swing.
"We have been a pretty good throwing team the last few years so we know we can do some things," said Hampshire coach Mike Brasile. "Our receiving corps is the strength of our offense.
"We felt like we could move the ball downfield and we didn't have a lot to lose because we were going to get the ball back to start the second half."
And Dalby's 10-yard pass to Starrenburg capped a 10-play, 72-yard drive on the opening possession after the break.
"To double up after halftime was huge," Brasile said.
Especially after Phelps thwarted a potential go-ahead drive by D-C when he snagged a pass from Josh Raby (12-for-22, 130 yards) at the Hampshire 8.
"I noticed they were running a bootleg and came up but I realized we were playing man defense, so I got with the running back," Phelps said. "I corrected myself and made the play. That was a huge momentum swing. That sparked our offense a little bit."
Rummell also had a big interception at the Hampshire 3 with 56.4 seconds left in the third. D-C scored on the game's opening possession when a 1-yard run by Ryan Lascano capped a 14-play, 63-yard drive that lasted 7:39 and set the final score when Raby hit Jack Michalski from 3 yards with 12.4 seconds to play.
"We shot ourselves in the foot," said D-C coach Mike Steinhaus. "We know we have a really, really young team and we've talked about embracing the adversity we're going to face this year.
"Our third series we moved right down the field and we have the turnover. All summer we worked on red-zone scoring because that's been a problem in previous years, not cashing in on drives."