Crystal Lake South 5 turnovers. Prairie Ridge 0.
In a nutshell, turnovers were the deciding factor in Friday night's Fox Valley Conference Valley Division showdown between intracity rivals PR and South.
The Wolves capitalized on 4 Gator fumbles and intercepted an Austin Fowler pass in posting a 41-16 victory at South's Ken Bruhn Field.
"When you are playing a great team like Prairie Ridge you can't afford to have the turnovers like we had tonight," said Crystal Lake South coach Chuck Ahsmann.
"I like our comeback in the second half, but we turned the ball in crucial situations. "
Trailing 20-0 at halftime, the Gators mounted a valiant comeback in the third quarter.
Karl Mikulec scored from 1 yard out with 7:50 left in the quarter and Brad Walovitch kicked the extra point to pull South within 20-7.
Early in the fourth, Walovitch's 27-yard field goal sliced PR's halftime lead in half to 10, 20-10 with 11:08 remaining in the game.
But the Gators' turnover bugaboo reared its ugly head as the Class 6A top-ranked Wolves (6-0, 3-0) recovered 2 fumbles and scored 2 touchdowns in a 19-second span to regain control of the game.
Collin Corcoran recovered a Gator fumble at the South 19 with 8:52 left in the game. The Wolves scored on the very next play when quarterback Nick Nissen rumbled in for a 19-yard TD.
On the Gators' next play from scrimmage after the PR score, Fowler fumbled at his own 1.
The loose pigskin was recovered by Corey Peterson. The next play from scrimmage Connor Greenwald scored and the Wolves led 34-10 with 8:27 left.
The Gators (5-1, 3-1) didn't quit and scored with 5:32 left on a 23-yard pass from Fowler to Walovitch. The 2-point conversion failed and PR led 34-16.
The Wolves put the game away on the ensuing kickoff. With South attempting an onside kick, PR's Sean Folliard scooped up the ball at the Gator 48 and scampered unscathed into the end zone for the touchdown.
"We call that play scoop and score," said PR coach Chris Schremp. "Sean is so athletic to make a play like that. The defense was outstanding. They are undersized but fundamentally sound."
Jordan Getzleman led the Wolves with 102 yard rushing including a first-half touchdown run of 45 yards. The talented junior also had a 33-yard punt return for a score during the first 24 minutes.