Waubonsie Valley wins the hard way against WW South
Those people who don't believe that it's incredibly difficult to win a high school football game should have stopped by Waubonsie Valley to watch the Warriors host Wheaton Warrenville South on Friday night.
Warriors quarterback Tanner Westwood played the game of his life with 329 yards passing, 4 touchdown tosses and another TD on the ground -- yet still found himself chewing his nails on the sideline as the game entered the final minute.
That's because South looked poised to pick up its first win of the season when Ryan Young took a handoff at the Warriors one with 29 seconds left and barged toward the end zone. He was met, however, by Waubonsie lineman Connor Forrest, who dislodged the ball. Chuck Robinson recovered the fumble in the end zone to put the icing on Waubonsie's 35-32 DuPage Valley Conference victory.
"They (the Tigers) have pride, they play hard, they're in the DVC," Waubonsie coach Paul Murphy. "Before the game, I said if we got the 'W' I'd be happy -- and I'm happy."
For the Tigers (0-6, 0-6), it was another case of close but no cigar, their fourth loss by 7 or fewer points this season.
"I won a state title running power from the 1, and I'll never call another play in that situation -- and I'll never give it to another guy than Ryan Young," said South coach Ron Muhitch. "That was inspiring football from our kids. If you're 0-5 and fighting back to win a game in the last 30 seconds, you can't ask for much more."
Young couldn't have done much more for the Tigers on the night as he finished with 285 total yards (169 rushing, 116 receiving) and scored three times. His spinning 45-yard TD run on the possession after Brian Haw's 23-yard field goal gave South a 10-0 lead nine minutes into the game.
The Warriors (3-3, 3-3) came roaring back on the arm of Westwood. With South stacking the box with eight and nine defenders, he threw 3 touchdown passes in the second quarter -- 36 yards to Robinson, 47 yards to Eric Esch and 9 yards to Ryan LeMoine to cap a picture-perfect two-minute drill that gave Waubonsie a 21-17 halftime lead.
"I think last year I had 78 yards passing against them and a couple picks, so I wanted to get better this year," Westwood said. "We had a lot of big plays, it was great to be able to do that."
Westwood hit Esch with a 58-yard score late in the third quarter, then looked to wrap up the game with a tough-as-nails 10-yard run to paydirt with 7 minutes left that made it 35-24.
The Tigers weren't through, though, as Zach Harris hit Jason Odom with a 26-yard score and subsequent PAT pass to make it 35-32 with six minutes to play. A key defensive stop left the Tigers with 93 yards to travel in 90 seconds -- and Harris did his best, hitting Nick Arthurs, Odom and Young a combined four times for 91 yards that got the ball to the Warriors 2. But in a game that featured a combined 971 yards of offense, it was the Warriors' ability to stop a 1-yard run that proved to be the difference.