Late score pushes Deerfield past Schaumburg
It was a night that when everything that could wrong for Schaumburg did.
Deerfield's Ryan Nagelbach hooked up with Colin Ward on a 99-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes to play to lift the Warriors past Schaumburg 16-13 Friday in nonconference action in Deerfield.
"It really hurts," Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling said. "I thought our defense deserved way better. They bailed us out all night."
Schaumburg led 13-10 and had Deerfield's ears pinned way back. The Warriors faced a third-and 23 situation at its own 1-yard line.
Nagelbach, who been sacked on the previous play, dropped to pass and heaved it down the left side of the field. It appeared that either of two Schaumburg defenders would pick off the pass. Ward swooped in between both of them, grabbing the ball at the highest point and then outrunning the Saxons to the end zone.
"Six (Ward) made a heck of a play there," Stilling said. "He did a great job of high pointing the ball. He is a heck of a football player."
Schaumburg (2-2) had taken a 13-10 lead with 3:57 to play on a 5-yard run by Shamari Brown. It was set up by a terrific catch by Anthony Kompanda, who out-jumped a pair of Deerfield defenders on a fourth-and-31 play.
Schaumburg dominated the first 20 minutes of the game but the Saxons had nothing to show for it.
That's because the Saxons had 50 yards in penalties, a punt of minus-8 yards, a bad snap on another punt and a blocked field goal.
The Saxons defense did come up big despite twice being put in situations where Deerfield began possessions inside the Saxon 30.
Ayobami Arokyo, Brandon Raditz, Blake Buchanan and Anthony Hernandez led the defensive charge. Hernandez knocked down a pass at the goal line to end one threat and the Saxons blocked a field goal to keep the game scoreless.
Deerfield (3-1), which did not have a first down through the first 20 minutes of the game, finally got its offense going. The Warriors put together a 68-yard scoring drive which was culminated by a 36-yard pass from Nagelbach to a wide open Alex Cohan to make it 7-0 with 2:05 left in the first half.
"Penalties certainly hurt us in the first half," Stilling said. "Anytime we got anything going in the first half, penalties crushed us."
After stopping Deerfield on the first possession of the second half, Schaumburg finally was able to put a full drive together. The Saxons marched 56 yards on 15 plays with Luke Jessie scoring on fourth-and-goal from the 1. The conversion kick was wide, and Schaumburg still trailed 7-6.
A pair of miscues on punt returns really cost the Saxons.
They had two consecutive defensive stops, forcing the Warriors to punt. But on each occasion, Schaumburg fumbled the ball away to Deerfield. The second time was at the Saxon 8-yard line.
Thanks to a penalty on Deerfield that negated a touchdown, the Schaumburg defense held. Deerfield did convert a 27-yard field goal, which ultimately was the margin of defeat.
"We gave them two extra possessions in the second half that hurt us as well." Stilling said. "I don't question our kid's effort. We just can't make these kind of mistakes."