York dumps Schaumburg in OT

By Lou Nunez Jr.
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 8/31/2019 12:37 AM

If it's possible to borrow from the opening verse of this summer's biggest pop hit, both Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling and his York counterpart Mike Fitzgerald were looking to see their teams take that first direction onto the old playoff road that both squads just missed a season ago.

Thanks to their ability to survive a some perilous moments on that road, the visiting Dukes were able to hold off the Saxons in a 16-13 overtime thriller at Gary Scholz Stadium Friday night.


"I think that we had some early jitters just trying to get our feet underneath us," Fitzgerald said. "I felt like we flipped the field (in the second half) and it really felt like they were tired and we kept coming at them. (It was) a heck of a job by Schaumburg. They stopped us multiple times on their end. We had a hard time punching it in. I'm so proud of our kids just the way they believed in each other. I don't think there was any doubt in their minds that they were going to find a way to get this done."

For the visitors (1-0), it would be accomplished after spotting the host school a 13-0 deficit with just 3:42 left in the opening half of play. Schaumburg got the scoring started on just the third play of quarter number two when senior quarterback Luke Jessie found junior Mike DiGioia out of the backfield on a third-and-15 at the York 21. It was from there, he took advantage of a giant opening and scampered untouched for a 6-0 lead just 22 ticks into the period. It successfully completed a 10 play, 73-yard drive.

Schaumburg's second score came in just four plays that DiGioia finished up with a 20-yard dash to the end zone.

The contest would then turn on a pair of plays.

The first came courtesy of Duke senior Oscar Duda's pick of a tipped Jessie pass at the York 29 with just 88 seconds remaining until halftime that his teammates on the offensive side of the ledger quickly put into the Schaumburg end zone on four plays starting with a 37-yard run by senior Nicholas Conroy (18 carries, 141 yards) that featured a 15-yard Saxon penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct tacked on followed by 3 straight completions by fellow York senior Max Assaad (15-31-136 yards) with the last one to junior wideout Luke Malaga finding pay dirt with just 18 seconds left in the half which put them within 13-7.

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The second game-changing play came on Schaumburg's opening possession of half number two when DiGioia (120 yards rushing and receiving) came down awkward on his right leg after hitting a 38-yard punt. He would go down again after attempting a comeback later in the period. In the meantime, Schaumburg (0-1) would be unable to make a first down until their final possession of regulation when he returned to the lineup.

It left the Saxon defense to keep York at bay which they held at both their own 11 and 8 yard lines until the Dukes finally broke through on a 1-yard Patrick Kastner (12 carries, 74 yards) run with 2:25 left in the fourth that evened things at 13.

However, a possible match point alluded them when Anthony Lapiana's PAT attempt hit the left upright.

From there, the Saxons went on a 9 play, 75-yard drive that saw DiGioia return on the final two plays -- runs of 3 and 5 yards that left the Saxons at the York 2 as time expired setting up extended play.

Lapiana would take advantage of that extra opportunity by successfully booting the winning points on a 22-yard field goal try.

The Saxons would almost take advantage of York only scoring a field goal as DiGioia would pound it almost in on their first play being stopped at the Duke 1. After two more running plays went for naught, Schaumburg would be called for unsportsmanlike conduct a third time when a Saxon player took off his helmet as he ran off the field of play thinking that the second had produced a winning score left them with a 33-yard field goal try to prolong the contest which fell short.

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