Fenton had no interest in celebrating its improvement. Glenbard South was just happy to walk away with what could be a very important football win.
The Raiders gave up the lead in the fourth quarter, then regained it for a 24-20 Metro Suburban Conference Blue Division victory Friday night against the visiting Bison on homecoming in Glen Ellyn.
The victory kept the Raiders (3-2, 1-0) in the hunt for a playoff berth and dealt a serious blow to the Bison.
"It is so important. Over .500. This was a make-or-break team," Raiders senior receiver Ryan McConville said. "We need to win more games to make the playoffs. Wheaton Academy is next and they're a really good team, so we have to prepare."
Last year the Raiders beat Fenton 41-7. On Friday Raiders coach Ryan Crissey said he was "shocked" by the difference in the Bison.
"I've got to give it to Fenton and their coaching staff," Crissey said. "The sophomore level to the varsity level, both sides of the line were just phenomenal how aggressive they were. They changed the line of scrimmage a few times on us, which hurt us.
"We have to minimize mistakes, we have to minimize turnovers. Against the teams in the last four games of our schedule, turnovers are a quick death."
The compliments from Glenbard South were no consolation to the Bison (2-3, 0-1), however.
"We lost," first-year Fenton coach Matt Lynch said. "We don't feel good about a loss. That's on me. I'll take this loss, my responsibility. But there's no such thing as moral victories."
The Raiders scored first, taking a 17-0 first-half lead before Fenton running back Dylan Butts went on an 81-yard touchdown run to cut the margin to 17-7 at halftime.
"In the first quarter we made a lot of mental mistakes," Lynch said. "...Emotions got the best of us in the first half, but we settled down, kept fighting, kept battling."
The Bison built on that momentum in the second half. First they got a 23-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Brian Jaramillio. Then the Bison took their first lead of the game on Butts' 1-yard TD run with 1:10 left in the third quarter.
The Raiders, who committed 4 turnovers in the game, got moving in the fourth quarter. A 6-play, 59-yard drive that featured a 32-yard pass to McConville from quarterback Jack Crouch ended with a 6-yard pass to Nick D'Ambra. With 4:03 to play, the Raiders had the lead back for good, 24-20.
"It was exciting," McConville said. "We persevered throughout the entire game. We had some good throws by Jack. We all believe in him. Overall it was a good drive. We had a good job by the goal line by Nick. Happy we got that score."
Butts finished with 191 yards on 29 carries and also had a sack defensively.
"Great football player. He plays hard," Lynch said.