Mt. Carmel stuns Lake Zurich in final minute

By Bill Pemstein
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/3/2018 7:40 PM

What was that again? Oh, yeah, a tackle, a sack and a pick on three straight plays.

A rough first half by both offenses on Saturday at Lake Zurich had been replaced with both Mt. Carmel and Lake Zurich trading leads in the second half. The visitors were driving and trailing by 4 points with plenty of time left on the clock in the final quarter.

And then Lake Zurich linebacker Luke Dwyer said no more. He tackled the Mt. Carmel quarterback. He sacked the quarterback, forcing a third-and-18 play. Finally, he ended that drive with an interception.

But the final touchdown of the day went to Mt. Carmel. A year ago, on the march to the state championship game, Lake Zurich took down this storied program. On Saturday, the Caravan (10-1) scored in the final minute to avenge that loss, 17-14.

"A lot of us have been playing together since were six years old,'' Dwyer said. "These are my best friends. They are like family. I will never forget this season."

In that first half, it didn't look like anyone would score. Four plays into the game, both teams had fumbled the ball away.

"Both teams were sloppy in that first half,'' said Lake Zurich senior Jason Sayre.

Yes, both squads had good defenses but the halftime score was 3-0 in favor of Mt. Carmel.

There were still five punts in the third quarter. And finally, the Bears (7-4) hit pay dirt. Jack Moses (10-for-17, 116 yards) hit James Piggott on a 65-yard scoring play. Piggott seemed to be surrounded by defenders but pulled away and the game had its first touchdown.

Mt. Carmel opened the fourth quarter with a short TD pass. The Caravan led by a field goal at 10-7.

Was it 7 or 8 seconds later? Lake Zurich's run game was stifled most of game by the Mt. Carmel defense until Sayre broke loose on an 80-yard TD run.

"The blocking was incredible,'' Sayre said. "I just had to run as fast as I could. Jack (Moses) made a good fake. I read the play and run up the middle."

Sayre didn't see the defenders on his heels on this mammoth run. Lake Zurich led in the fourth quarter, 14-10. On its game-winning drive, the Caravan was able to convert a fourth-down pass play.

"They made some adjustments on that final drive,'' Dwyer said.

The Bears had a first-round upset in the playoffs. And they almost had a second one.

"This is the worst day of the season,'' said Lake Zurich coach Luke Mertons. "I feel badly for the seniors. Mount Carmel is a great team. They made some good plays at the end."

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