Senior St. Edward football players did not want Friday's regular season finale at Greg True field to be the last game of their high school careers.
With only a half of a minute left to play, three seniors aided by two juniors made three clutch plays and a dramatic 2-point conversion to pull out a 29-28 victory over Wheaton Academy.
The Metro Suburban Blue Conference win also made St. Edward playoff eligible.
The game clock show 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter when Wheaton went ahead 28-21 on 23-yard run by Kent Harmon and a successful PAT.
The Wave (5-4, 2-3) started the drive on its own 34-yard. After an offensive foul and an incomplete pass, senior quarterback Dylan Mlinarich completed 3 straight passes: a 25-yarder to classmate Tyler Holte, a 30-yarder to junior Sydney Muhammad, and with 2.8 seconds left on the clock, a 13-yard TD strike to senior David Madden.
"Those kids really executed that 34 second drive to a tee," said St. Edward coach Mike Rolando. "They did exactly what we asked. Three different guys made key catches."
Initially, St. Edward was going for a PAT after the score. Wheaton was flagged for too many players on the field, which moved the ball to the one and half yard line.
The Wave changed its strategy and went for two. Junior Angel Garcia lept over a pile of players to make the conversion.
Wheaton (4-5, 1-4) had one more chance. There were 2.8 seconds still left on the clock and St. Edward was kicking from its own 25-yard line due to a penalty. As a result, the Warriors started from their own 48-yard line. Wheaton quarterback Ben Thorson threw a pass as time expired that was intercepted by senior Ryan Pomeroy.
After lackluster first half, St. Edward trailed Wheaton 13-0.
Wheaton took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter on an 8-yard run by Cristian Carstens. The Warriors extended their lead to13-0 with 30 seconds left in the half.on a Miles VanderKlok 6-yard run.
The Wave used big plays in the second half to get back into the game. A 45-yard pass from Mlinarich to Holte put St. Edward on the board at the 7:34 mark of the third quarter. On the Wave's next possession, Mlinarich connected again with Holte this time for 41 yards. On the next play, Nick Wright put the Wave ahead 14-13. Holte caught 6 passes for a total of 134 yards.
St. Edward extended its lead to 21-13 on a 1-yard Garcia plunge with 6:49 left to play in the fourth quarter. The junior running back rushed for 93 yards on 19 carries.
Wheaton responded with its own big play on its next drive, a 70-yard TD passes from Thorson to Noah Jones. A successful 2-point conversion by Thorson tied the game at 21.