Batavia stuns St. Charles North in final seconds
With his team trailing 24-21 with no timeouts remaining and 1 minute, 22 seconds left, Batavia quarterback Jack Meyers knew what lied ahead.
"We just had to get the ball down the field and get the ball to our playmakers," said Meyers. "There's not a whole lot you can do -- you have to pass the ball."
One play after a huge 37-yard completion to Ethan Neibch, who was tackled out of bounds inside the St. Charles North 10-yard line with 17 seconds left, Meyers connected with tailback Art Taylor on an 8-yard toss for the go-ahead touchdown with 12 seconds remaining to lift the host Bulldogs (8-0, 6-0) to a wild 27-24 DuKane Conference triumph over the North Stars (6-2, 5-1) Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
"I didn't know if he (Neibch) was out of bounds or inbounds so I was screaming, 'clock, clock,'" said Meyers, who threw 3 second-half touchdowns as the Bulldogs rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit to stun the North Stars.
"Then I didn't know if we were going to kick (a tying) a field goal or go for it until I saw the coaches signaling go for it. We had the play in the works all week. It was misdirection and it worked perfectly. It was so amazing to see him (Taylor) wide open in the end zone."
It was a bitter pill for the North Stars to swallow after outplaying the defending Class 7A state champions for the first 24 minutes.
A key defensive pass interference penalty on the North Stars on a 4th-and-10 play from the Bulldogs' 31 with 47 seconds left kept the drive alive.
"It was a judgment call and I hate to see a judgment that makes the difference in a game like that," said North Stars coach Rob Pomazak.
"But you've got to respond after that. We were out of coverage for some reason (on the 37-yard pass to Neibch) and then they had zero timeouts. All we have to do is make a play."
Batavia scored a pair of touchdowns within a 19-second span during its 14-0 third-quarter surge -- both coming on passes from Meyers to wide receiver Nick Rempert.
Rempert's 27-yard reception trimmed the deficit to 17-14, and one play after Joe Oroni's fumble recovery, Meyers found Rempert for a 28-yard TD pass that gave Batavia its first lead at 21-17 with 2:37 left in the third quarter.
St. Charles North regained some momentum after Dan Daley forced Meyers to scramble from his own end zone and Ryan Thiesse stepped in front of a pass and returned the interception 9 yards for a touchdown as the North Stars regained a 24-21 lead with 8:47 remaining in the fourth quarter.
However, the North Stars were unable to run out the clock late as the Bulldogs forced a punt in the last 1:30.
From there, they marched 81 yards in 9 plays for the game-winning score.
"It was pretty exciting," said Batavia coach Dennis Piron. "I think maybe the smallest little difference on that final drive might have been that we were playing with 1-way players and they were playing with five 2-way players. In a game like this, that does take a toll.
"I'm glad that we pulled it out because I felt like we didn't play very well in the first half."