Ten minutes after catching the game-winning pass on the final play of the game, Wheaton Warrenville South wide receiver Brandon Moore wasnt about to let go of the football for a while.
No, sir, the senior said.
Naperville North scored on the first drive of the game and led the rest of the way until Moore caught a deflected Hail Mary pass, turned and ran the final 12 yards for a 47-yard game-ending touchdown and a 24-21 WW South victory Friday night in Wheaton.
Coach told me to go vertical, Moore said, the play still something of a blur to him. We had Corey Davis, our big receiver, running across the field. We just had to throw it up. I dont know what happened. I think (quarterback Ryan Graham) almost got sacked. He just threw it up. It seemed like the ball was in the air forever.
We practice plays like that, Muhitch said of this years squad. They never seem to work, let alone throw it that far. But to Naperville Norths credit, I think they played an outstanding football game tonight.
Muhitch has seen plays like that before, but its been a few years.
Naperville North-Wheaton Warrenville South, I dont know what you expect, but on this field its always like that, Muhitch said. Two-thousand seven, its been like that, 2004 its been like that, 1994. I can go back to the hook-and-lateral down that sideline right over there to Bobby Nelson. Its been that kind of mystique it seems on this field with Naperville North.
The Tigers (2-2, 2-0), the defending Class 7A runners-up, needed a victory to avoid falling in a 1-3 hole.
We needed a jolt like this, Muhitch said. We really did. We needed a victory that meant something to our kids internally. I called it an AED jolt. We just needed something to make us believe we could play good football. Hopefully, this takes us to another level.
Naperville North (1-3, 0-2) led 21-6 at halftime after a 2-yard touchdown run from Kendall Veluvolu, a 27-yard TD pass from Johnny Brown to Desean Brown and a Desean Brown 29-yard scoring run. But the WW South defense held the Huskies scoreless in the second half.
They outplayed us in the second half, Huskies coach Sean Drendel said. They did a great job. Thats what happens when you play good teams. They find ways to come back and win. Theyre a great program.
Brandon Adams third-quarter touchdown made the score 21-12, the Tigers having their first point-after kick blocked, failed to run the ball in on Adams TD. Then with 6:12 left in the fourth quarter, Jesse Padalik scored on a 1-yard run, the missed PAT leaving the Naperville North lead at 21-18.
The situation looked dire for WW South when it turned the ball over on downs with 2:25 to play after four incomplete passes, but it got the ball back with 46.5 seconds left at its own 7-yard line after a Huskies punt.
The Tigers drove downfield over the next six plays, Grahams 7-yard scamper putting the ball on the Naperville North 47 with 4.6 seconds left, setting up a final play that included a tipped ball that Muhitch called a good, old-fashioned Red Grange bounce.