Senior Lucas Segobiano admitted "emotions were a little down" after St. Charles North's 7-point halftime lead at rival St. Charles East turned into a 14-point third-quarter deficit, but the two-way standout said his team never stopped believing.
The determined North Stars rallied for 2 touchdowns on drives led by junior quarterback Michael Hohensee, and they won the Upstate Eight River thriller 35-34 in overtime when the defense stuffed the Saints' potential game-winning 2-point conversion run.
"That's one thing we talked about all week was belief because we were the underdog and they're a good team," Segobiano said. "So we just had to believe and it all showed in the fourth quarter and in overtime."
St. Charles North (3-1, 2-0) trailed 28-14 with 5:51 left in the third quarter after St. Charles East (3-1, 1-1) fullback Justin Jett scored a pair of touchdowns in an 11-second span, thanks to one of linebacker Micchael Carne's 2 interceptions.
However, the North Stars answered with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Hohensee to Billy Durocher to draw within a touchdown with 1:47 left in the third quarter.
Hohensee (28 of 49, 407 yards) and the North Stars got the ball back at their own 23-yard line with 2:58 left. Shrugging off 2 earlier interceptions, he completed 5 straight passes for 77 yards, capped by an in-stride 42-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Thomas Nelsen, who caught 9 passes for 162 yards.
"We saw what the defense was running and we knew we could make it work," Nelsen said of his streak route down the left hash.
The North Stars got the ball first in overtime and Hohensee put the North Stars ahead with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Nubin on third and goal from the 5.
The Saints answered when Nick Garlisch bounced off a tackler on third-and-goal from the 3 and stretched across the goal line for a touchdown.
Both teams called timeout before next play. The Saints, who had missed field goals of 38 and 41 yards, elected to go for 2 points and the win. However, the sweep play came up short when Segobiano made the tackle at the 2, flanked by two teammates.
"We were going to call pinch originally so the (defensive) ends would crash, but we assumed they would go sweep because that's their go-to when they run slug or goal line," Segobiano said. "So we called a gap and then we went outside and our ends were able to contain. He had to cut it back up and I was right there when he cut it up."
Saints coach Bryce Farquhar said going for the win was the right choice.
"We kind of got to that point that our kids had the confidence in themselves," Farquhar said. "We thought we could get it. We had a two-play call. We checked to our second play and North did a great job of defending it."
The North Stars amassed 454 total yards, 409 through the air.
"This is a huge confidence builder," Hohensee said. "After the loss to Bolingbrook we knew we needed to step up our game and we did tonight. It was an all-around good team effort."