The first half of Schaumburg's Class 8A football playoff quarterfinal was not one of Anthony Iannotti's better ones.
For the first time all season the prolific Saxons' offense quarterbacked by Iannotti didn't have a point on the board at intermission. Even worse, they were staring at a 28-point deficit to Bartlett.
Iannotti and his senior teammates could have figured it was over. They could have figured they made a nice and unexpected run and finally ran into an undefeated team that was too much to handle.
Iannotti and his classmates figured there had to be another way.
"The coaches at halftime all said, 'What do you want your legacy to be?'" Iannotti said. "That we'd all be remembered for how we finished this game and we all took it to heart.
"Coach (offensive coordinator Mark) Steger talked to me and said, 'We need you to compete in big games.' In the first half I wasn't competing to my fullest potential."
So Iannotti and his teammates went out and battled to rewrite the ending. They came back to tie the game in the final minutes before falling on a last-second field goal.
And Iannotti had left a lasting impression in just the third quarterfinal trip in school history.
"At the end of the game (Steger) said, 'You were the best competitor on the field,'" Iannotti said. "That made me feel so much better as a person and it told me a lot about myself, that other people realize what I'm doing."
What Iannotti did was put up the most prolific single-season numbers by a quarterback in Schaumburg history. Not a bad year considering it was his only one as a varsity starter at the position.
Pretty good considering not much was expected from the outside for Iannotti and Schaumburg. But Iannotti believed in his abilities and those of his teammates.
As a result, Iannotti was chosen to captain the 2008 Cook County Daily Herald All-Area football team.
"I don't know what the expectations were for him," Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling said with a laugh as he admitted slipping into a little Yogi Berra, "but he certainly exceeded them."
The numbers don't lie.
Iannotti could beat you with his arm as he completed 70 percent of his passes for 2,441 yards with 26 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions.
He could beat you with his feet as he rushed for 953 yards and 9 touchdowns.
And the Saxons didn't miss a beat as Iannotti moved from wide receiver as a junior to joining Julian Tucker and Cody Logsdon as their third straight all-area quarterback. He also exceeded the numbers of Paul Justin and Kurt Kittner, who went on to play in the NFL.
"That's definitely a great legacy to be a part of," Iannotti said. "The last two years we had outstanding quarterbacks - and Justin and Kittner, that's the cream of the crop right there.
"To have my name put in the same conversation as those guys is more than I could have ever imagined."
It wasn't as if Iannotti was a giant secret to those at Schaumburg. He simply had to bide his time behind two talented kids in Tucker and Logsdon.
"We saw it when he was running the scout team for us as a sophomore - that he could be pretty good," Stilling said. "It wasn't like he couldn't have got the job done."
But Iannotti's high expectations for his senior year weren't based solely on his own talent.
"'Spandy' (all-area receiver Josh Spandiary) makes my job pretty easy," Iannotti said. "We had a great offensive line and 'Shep' (all-area running back Shepard Little) opens up the passing game a lot."
Combine what Iannotti did on the field this season and what he's done off it with a 35 ACT and it's opened up a wide range of opportunities.
He already has a lot of Ivy League interest and Stilling said Mid-American Conference schools are also starting to jump in the recruiting mix.
Whoever gets him will be getting a winner - as Iannotti proved in the Saxons' quarterfinal defeat.
"We obviously wanted it to end the other way, but I'm so proud of everyone for sticking in there," Iannotti said. "The juniors and sophomores fought with us and knew it was our last game. They helped out the seniors a lot and our seniors are obviously a tough bunch."
Which Anthony Iannotti displayed time after time this fall.