Antioch rallies past Lakes -- again
Face mask planted in the turf, Antioch linebacker Nick Baum lay flat on his stomach around the 15-yard line. Chaos surrounded him.
The moment, one of the biggest in the history of the Antioch-Lakes football rivalry, froze him.
"I wasn't watching," Baum said of Lakes' last-second field-goal attempt from 26 yards out Saturday. "I was just diving to see if I could block it."
Then he saw his Sequoits teammates celebrating on their home football field.
"No words, no words," a numb Baum said. "I didn't know what to think."
Antioch, the No. 2 seed in the Class 6A state playoffs, somehow kept its perfect season alive, escaping with a 17-16 win over its District 117 rival in the teams' second-round matchup.
"My heart aches for (Lakes)," said Antioch's Brian Glashagel, who, like every coach, has been there.
What mattered was that Antioch beat Lakes for the second time in the last month, with this win earning the Sequoits (11-0) a berth in the quarterfinals for the first time in 10 years and the fifth time in program history. Antioch will next play No. 6 Notre Dame (9-2) in Niles.
"We squeaked it out," Antioch outside linebacker Kevin Tebbe said after he and his teammates rallied in the second half to end Lakes' season. "But in the playoffs, if you win by one or if you win by 30, it doesn't matter. You move on to the next round."
No. 7 Lakes (8-3) looked like it might be headed to the quarterfinals for only the second time in its 14-year history. Just as they did in the teams' Week-8 showdown, when they built a 24-7 lead only to lose 43-24, the Eagles made a statement early. They scored six plays into the game on Chris Selig's 51-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Keilwitz and never trailed until the game's final play.
Antioch pulled even on Athan Kaliakmanis' 24-yard TD strike to Zach Grindley in the first quarter. But Lakes' defensive pressure paid off when linebacker Jin Chun sacked Kaliakmanis in the end zone on third-and-14 from the Antioch 9 with 5:27 left before halftime, putting the visitors up 9-7.
"We were blitzing off the edge, and the running back tried to pick me up," Chun said. "I dipped under and, luckily, Athan was in the end zone when I made the tackle."
Lakes took advantage of the momentum swing. The Eagles got the ball back and marched 69 yards on 12 plays. Selig capped the drive by rolling to his right and powering his way into the end zone from 3 yards out to extend the Eagles' lead to 16-7 with 2.4 seconds left before halftime.
The 6-foot-3, 205 pound Selig finished 12-of-15 passing for 164 yards (no turnovers) and rushed 10 times for 32 yards.
"Selig's a good player," Tebbe said. "He's definitely developed since we played them the last time. He knows what he needs to do. He ran the ball a lot more this game. Pulled it in (on the touchdown) -- lowered his shoulder. He made us realize, 'Wow, we need to start stepping up on this kid.' "
Just like last time the teams played each other, Antioch trailed at halftime.
"They were sending a lot of heat," Kaliakmanis said. "We just had to make an adjustment."
The Sequoits did. Held to 3 first downs in the first half, they put together 7- and 12-play drives on their first two series of the second half. They pulled within 16-10 on Sebby Scofield's 23-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Antioch's go-ahead touchdown drive took seven plays and featured Kaliakmanis' 34-yard completion to his brother Dino, before Nick Wiley scored from the 5 with 6:45 to go.
"We said (at halftime) that we just got to clean things up," said Glashagel, whose Sequoits, who came in averaging better than 45 points per game, were penalized three times for 35 yards in the first half. "There wasn't a lot of X's and O's (adjustments)."
Antioch looked in control with just more than three minutes left, but Kaliakmanis fumbled the ball, and Lakes' Randall Thornton recovered it at the Lakes 47. Kaliakmanis was intercepted earlier in the half by Cade Ketlinski.
"(The fumble) was probably the worst feeling I've felt in my life," said Kaliakmanis, who was 7-of-10 passing for 133 yards and rushed for 67 yards on 15 carries. "I went to the sideline and all the defensive guys came to me and said they had me. I believed in them."
Once Lakes got the ball, the Eagles knew what they wanted to do.
"We turned the drive into a field-goal drive," Lakes coach Jordan Eder said. "We made that decision."
Selig marched Lakes to the 10 on nine plays, and the Eagles called timeout with 2.3 seconds on the clock. After a Lakes timeout and two by Antioch, out came Eagles kicker Ethan Gheysen, a strong-legged lefty who's been automatic on PAT kicks this season.
"Ethan's a great kicker," Chun said of his teammate and fellow junior.
Eder was proud that his players battled and, for the second time this season, gave Antioch all that they had.
"We felt like last game we did a nice job of stopping their base stuff and that they hit us hard with the jet (sweep)," Eder said. "They made some chunk plays on that, and we gave them a couple of scores off our offense. We worked against the jet and were able to take that away, and we stopped the counter. We did a nice job of game planning."
Right to the end.