In the blink of an eye, the complexion of Friday's Fox Valley Conference game between Crystal Lake South and Hampshire changed dramatically.
Trailing Hampshire 9-0 midway through the third quarter, South scored 15 unanswered 15 points in a 2 minute and 15 second span as the Gators rallied for a 30-15 win Friday night in Crystal Lake.
"We executed better in the second half and were more consistent," said Crystal Lake South first year coach Rob Fontana. "With it being Homecoming we were a little bit too amped up in the first half and just didn't execute. We played well in the second half in the 3 phases of the game -- offense, defense and special teams."
Leading 3-0 at halftime, Hampshire (1-5, 1-4) scored the game's first touchdown on a 35-yard pass from Drew Dalby to Nicolas Rummell with 9:23 left in the third quarter to take a 9-0 lead.
Senior running back Kyle Leva, a 3-year starter, who gained 295 yards on 30 carries, put the Gators (2-4, 2-4) on the scoreboard with a 17-yard run with 6:55 remaining in the quarter. The extra point by Jacob Kocemba was good and the Gators sliced the Whip-Pur lead to 9-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ryan Stratton recovered a Hampshire fumble at Whip-Pur 33-yard line.
The Gators needed 5 plays to reach pay dirt as Leva scored his second TD of the game on a 5-yard run. South converted the 2-point conversion as Dylan Rhoades found Noah Tyrell in the end zone to give the Gators a 15-9 lead with 4:40 left in the third quarter.
South was able to gain a 2-touchdown cushion as Leva broke through a huge gap in the line for a 42-yard score with only 51 seconds elapsed in the fourth quarter. Kocemba's extra point kick gave South a 22-9 advantage.
"We changed some things at halftime and the offensive line just blocked well," said Leva. "I had so much room to run. We were able to wear them down."
Coach Fontana appreciates Leva's efforts.
"He is a like a swiss army knife out there," said Fontana. "It is Kyle being Kyle. He is so consistent and he reads his blocks so well. He has had two great games in a row."
The Whip-Purs bounced right back and cut the Gator deficit in 59 seconds as Drew Dalby connected with Cam Fleury for a 19-yard pass with 9:10 left in the game to make the score 22-16.
On a fourth-and-4 from the Whip-Pur 44, the Gators faked the punt and Tyler Beckwith gained 5 yards for the first down.
The Gators iced the game with 1:37 left on a 5-yard pass from Ian Gorken to Jacob Rana.
Dalby completed 23-of-38 passes for 308 yards and 2 touchdowns along with an interception by South's Blake Kuffel.
Zach Golden caught 10 passes for 69 yards for the Whip-Purs.
"We need to move forward and get stronger mentally," said Hampshire coach Mike Brasille. "We are disappointed with the outcome."