Schaumburg nips Palatine
Schaumburg kept its playoff hopes alive by the tip of Heze Trotter's fingers.
Trotter was able to race around the Palatine offensive line to deflect Caleb Runge's 21-yard field goal attempt with 7 seconds left in the game as the Saxons held on for a 30-29 win at Palatine in the Mid-Suburban West Friday night.
"When I saw the holder's hands go up I knew the snap of the ball was coming and that was my cue to take off," said Trotter. "If it wasn't for Tyler Fortune making a good block for me to get around the defender I wouldn't have tipped the ball."
It was the second week in a row that the Pirates came up empty at the end of the game.
"It was tough conditions to kick the field goal," said Palatine coach Corey Olson. "It would have been nice to put it through the uprights but you know we had other opportunities in the game. We came up short again which was unfortunate."
Palatine dropped to 1-6 and 0-3 in conference play while the Saxons improved to 4-3 and 1-2.
"We preached a playoff mindset all week," said Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling. "The players understood what was riding on this game. Our kids really battled."
Before the tipped field goal attempt Runge had tried from 26 yards out but missed. Schaumburg was called for running into the kicker which brought the ball 5 yards closer.
Saxon running back Mike DiGioia gave the Saxons the lead for good on a 4-yard run with about four minutes left in the game to cap a long Schaumburg drive. Following Jonathan Mueller's extra-point kick the Saxons had their slim 1-point lead.
"We owed the defense one," said DiGioia. "We struggled on offense the past few weeks. Tonight we just wanted to pound the ball at them and make it a fast-paced game. Heze, myself and Shamaree Brown talked to coach Stilling in telling him what plays would work best against Palatine."
Ronald Todd scored 2 touchdowns for the Pirates. His first on a 8-yard run in the first quarter gave Palatine a 7-0 lead.
Mueller put the Saxons on the board closing the gap to 7-3 with a 37-yard field goal.
Jaden Rasheed returned the kickoff 90 yards giving Palatine a 14-3 lead.
DiGioia's 52-yard run with 2:39 left in the first quarter brought Schaumburg to within 14-10.
Trotter, on a fake punt, raced 39 yards to give Shamuburg a 17-14 lead with 9:42 remaining before halftime.
"If I feel I can make the play off of the fake punt that's what I do," said Trotter. "I got some good blocking from the offensive line and I had some space to make the play."
The Pirates forged back on top at 21-17 following Zac Garnmeister's 22-yard strike to Todd with 1:35 left before halftime.