Crystal Lake South knocked out in 2nd round
For nearly a half the Crystal Lake South defense held the Notre Dame of Niles offense out of the end zone.
Unfortunately for the Gators a half consists of 24 minutes.
With only 24 ticks remaining Dons sophomore quarterback Anthony Sayles found running back Ty Gavin for a 22-yard touchdown and Notre Dame led 7-0 at halftime.
The Dons rode that momentum in the second half and posted a 17-7 win over the Gators in second round action of the Class 6A playoffs in Crystal Lake Saturday night.
"That touchdown before the half was huge," said Notre Dame coach Mike Hennessey. "Our sophomore quarterback read the play perfectly. Both teams had opportunities to score in the first half. It was nice we got one before the half."
Crystal Lake South coach Rob Fontana was disappointed.
"We gave them 4 first downs on the drive and that is disappointing," said Fontana. "That score before the half gave them a lot of momentum going into the second half."
The sixth-seeded Dons (9-2) advance to the quarterfinals and will host second-seeded and undefeated Antioch (11-0) next Saturday. The 14th-seeded Gators end the season at 6-5.
The Dons stretched their lead to 14-0 as Sayles tossed his second TD pass of the game, a 17-yarder to Julian Schurr with 4:41 left in the third quarter.
A 27-yard field goal by Danny Simons as time elapsed gave the Dons a 17-0 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Sputtering all night and hampered by 10 penalties for 100 yards, the Gators offense produced their only points with 1:59 remaining when Ian Gorken connected with Jacob Rana for a 29-yard touchdown.
Fontana was happy with his team's advancement to the second round of the playoffs.
"We started 0-2 losing 2 tough games to 2 great teams Cary-Grove and DeKalb," said Fontana. "Our kids kept battling and we got better every week and got to be in the playoffs for the first time since 2015. They got to play in a playoff game at home. It is a testament to the resiliency of the seniors. They made every off-season workout and worked really hard in the weight room."
The Notre Dame defense held the Gators to 82 yards rushing and 124 yards passing for 206 yards of total offense. The Dons held South to 9 first downs.
Under siege all night, Gorken completed 10-of-16 passes for 129 yards, a touchdown and an interception by Jimmy Murphy.
Rana, in his final game as a Gator, grabbed 5 passes for 43 yards and a TD.
"We didn't execute well enough to beat a good team like Notre Dame," said Fontana. "We had way too many breakdowns and penalties."
Gavin led the Dons' rushing attack with 94 yards on 24 carries. Sayles completed 5-of-14 passes for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns.