Edwardsville overcomes big day from Palatine's O'Shea
Johnny O'Shea's epic performance was not quite enough, as Palatine lost to Edwardsville 38-35 Saturday in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs in Palatine.
O'Shea hauled in a record-setting 5 touchdown catches and a conversion catch. He finished with 19 receptions for 276 yards.
But the three-year starter and all-time pass-catcher for the Pirates would have traded it all for another Palatine football game.
"I just tried to do what I could," said O'Shea who broke former teammate Matt Lamm's playoff record of 4 touchdowns. "DJ was throwing the ball on the money every time. It was a tough day. I am proud of my teammates. We gave it all on the field."
Palatine coach Corey Olson said O'Shea's performance didn't surprise him.
"That is the way Johnny O'Shea is," Olson said. "And that is the way a last game should be. There will probably never be another Johnny O'Shea, because he is the whole package."
Also having a huge day for the Pirates (7-4) was Angelaccio. The senior had his best game of the season, competing 32 of 52 passes for 374 yards and 5 touchdowns.
"A win would have been nice," said Angelaccio, who also rushed for 50 yards. These four years have been the greatest of my life. This program has really shaped me into the man I am becoming."
Edwardsville (8-3), which will host Minooka next week, was making its second consecutive trip the northwest suburbs.
"The game was just the way I thought it would be," said Edwardsville coach Matt Martin. "Now we have a home game and it's against Minooka. We will have our hands full."
Both Palatine and Edwardsville had plenty to hold on to on Saturday.
Edwardsville scored on its first possession thanks to a unique personal foul called on Palatine for jumping over the center to block a Tigers' field goal attempt. Thanks to the extended life, Justin Johnson (16 carries, 99 yards) scored on a 2-yard run to make it 7-0.
O'Shea and Angelaccio gave everyone a taste of things to come when the duo hooked up for the first time on 16-yard corner fade to make it 7-7.
That scoring drive was extended when Edwardsville roughed Palatine punter Tim Matijevic.
Edwardsville then got a short field on a nice kickoff return, and the Tigers took advantage.
They marched in on 10 plays with Kendall Abdur-Rahman scoring on a 4-yard run early in the second quarter to make it 14-7.
Again O'Shea and Angelaccio answered.
This time it was a 37-yard scoring strike to tie the game at 14-14.
The tie lasted just one play from scrimmage. Abdul-Rahman scooted off tackle on a 64-yard keeper to make it 21-14.
The Tigers then scored with a minute before the half to make it 28-14. Abdul-Rahman scored his third touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run.
Palatine then went totally airborne to get back into the game.
Angelaccio completed 11 passes on the opening drive of the second half as the Pirates eschewed the run. Jason Rivera, Jake Moertl, Jack Hopper all had catches during the drive along with O' Shea, who saved his best for the last.
O'Shea, who had 6 catches on the drive, made an acrobatic one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone to complete a 19-yard touchdown and cut the lead to 21-14.
The Pirates defense, which was manhandled in the first half, came up with a huge stop to give the Pirates the ball back.
They were rewarded for that efforts when they watched O'Shea catch his fourth TD pass from 21 yards out. However, the conversion kick was blocked and Palatine trailed 28-27 with 2:12 left in the third quarter.
"That was huge," Martin said. "Good call by special teams coordinator Dave Dougherty."
Edwardsville's secondary, which had struggled some, came up with a huge play in the fourth. Jalen Cooper picked off a deflected pass at the Palatine 16-yard line. Four plays later, Dionte Rodgers scored on a 4-yard run to make it 35-27 with 6:26 to play.
Again, it was O'Shea and Angelaccio coming up with a response.
Thanks to a pass interference call, the Pirates moved the ball down to the Tigers 26.
O'Shea hauled in his record-breaking fifth TD on a 26-yard pass from Angelaccio to make it 35-33. Angelaccio then hit a quick slant pass to O'Shea for the conversion, and the game was tied at 35 with 4:45 to play.
The Tigers responded by returning the kickoff to the Pirates 40 yard line. They moved the ball to the 14-yard line where Devin Parker booted a 31-yard field goal with 48.5 seconds left to make it 38-35.
"Obviously the difference in the game was special teams," Olson said. "They were very good in their special teams and they have a very good kicker."
After taking over the ensuing kickoff at their own 18, Palatine moved to the Edwardsville 48. But Angelaccio's final pass was knocked away as time expired.
"That is what this senior group does," said Olson, whose team lost four games this year by a combined 14 points. "Never did we step on the field and not give our best effort. That's what these seniors are. I told the kids that it is much more than just winners and losers. And these kids are winners."
Moertl summed up the feelings of the Palatine players.
"This is the most fun I have ever had in my life," Moertl said. "This group of guys are my best friends. I am sad it is over but I am happy that it happened."
Edwardsville got 86 yards on the ground from Abdur-Rahman.
Martin and Co. left Palatine eager for the next round -- and impressed by the O'Shea show.
"Number 80 is a heck of a player," Martin said. "He creates matchup issues for people. You know the fade is coming, and we couldn't stop it."