Wauconda gets past Grant

By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/19/2018 11:21 PM

Over the last few weeks of the season, Wauconda had one thing on its minds -- reach the playoffs.

All Wauconda needed was a victory in its final regular season game against one of its closest rivals in Grant.

Wauconda found what it needed as the Bulldogs got past Grant 21-13 in a Northern Lake County Conference game on Friday night in Wauconda.

Now, the Bulldogs have to wait until Saturday night to be sure. Since Wauconda has a 5-4 record and in the area of 40 playoff points (opposition wins).

"It's something that we take pride in what we're trying to do," Wauconda coach Dave Mills said. "We expect to be in the playoffs, I like that. Now, we have to try to do some damage."

For Wauconda getting the victory was tougher than playing the entire game. Grant wasn't going to make it that easy and Wauconda had to survive a late run at it in the final quarter.

"I think that fourth quarter might have been the longest I've ever been around," Mills added. "I thought we made plays and came out of a lackluster second quarter after giving up a big touchdown throw. We got up 21-7 and just didn't finish it. We have to take care of a bunch of little stuff, so we can take care of little things. We've got a week to clean it up. It's playoff time and you're going to face some good teams."

Wauconda started out quickly on its defense, as Nick Rinchiuso scored on a 46-yard fumble return for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 7:51 left in the first quarter.

Then, JJ Jacobo caught a 10-yard pass in the corner of the end zone from Nicolas Bulgarelli that increased the lead to 14-0 with 8:58 left in the second quarter.

Grant (3-6, 3-4) had a big play that cut the lead to 14-7 late in half. John Bolton caught an 83-yard TD pass from Tyler Elfering with 22.6 seconds left.

Wauconda added a touchdown in the third quarter, when Bugarelli made a move and scored on a 12-yard run for a 21-0 advantage with 5:28 remaining.

"The linebackers were all flowing and I saw an alley," Bugarelli said. "I just made a cutback and it was a clear path from there."

Grant tried to rally late in fourth quarter. Tyler Fritcsh caught a 7-yard TD from Elfering with 4:35 left. But Grant couldn't convert the 2-point conversion in the air leaving Grant down 21-13.

There was one more opportunity for Grant after its defense stopped Wauconda in the remaining two minutes. They reached the 17-yard line but couldn't get any closer with a couple of penalties and turned the ball over on downs.

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