St. Charles East makes the numbers add up against WW South
St. Charles East turned the numbers upside-down.
On average the Saints had given up more points than they'd allowed, 18-17. Wheaton Warrenville South won two games with running clocks and an offense that averaged 45 points while the Tigers allowed 10 a game.
That's not how it played out. In Friday's DuKane Conference game at Norris Stadium, host St. Charles East's defense contained the Tigers while the offense rallied to win 28-20.
"It's huge. We were the underdog. Our linemen, everyone on our team fought for everything we got," said Saints senior running back-linebacker Colton Conn. He ran for 108 yards, including a 13-yard insurance touchdown run, and kick-started Saints momentum with a 21-yard touchdown reception late in the first half.
Trailing 14-7 at halftime, St. Charles East (3-1, 1-1) held WW South to Jack Olsen's 37- and 53-yard field goals in the second half. WW South (3-1, 1-1) ran for 89 yards, led by Jake Arthurs and Prince Lankah.
"The plan was just to stop all the holes and have the RBs (running backs) come outside for us to make the play," said the Saints' Nathan Hull.
A receiver-defensive back, Hull caught 5 passes for 113 yards and made 2 interceptions, one on a Hail Mary into the end zone just before halftime. Gino Cerrone also had an interception and Ethan Carls recovered a fumbled kickoff return with 1:13 left to play to clinch the win.
"I thought our offense would do a little bit better," said WW South coach Ron Muhitch. "Olsen did his part and we were trying to play for that game-winning field goal at the end and we just couldn't get something going."
Trailing 14-0 after second-quarter Tigers touchdowns by quarterback Parker Brown and Arthurs, Colton Conn's touchdown catch and run -- Nathan Hayes' perfect swing pass against a blitz, capped by Conn lowering the shoulder -- and Hull's interception was the combo St. Charles East coach Bryce Farquhar was looking for.
"I think that was the turning point for us in the game," he said. "And then when they went down they took a shot in the end zone and Hull intercepted it, and I think that set the tone for the second half."
Olsen's two field goals sandwiched a Hayes 2-yard touchdown run for WW South's 20-14 lead with 11:55 left in the fourth quarter.
Hayes responded with a 40-yard pass to Hull, an 18-yard completion to Clayton Conn -- Colton's twin brother -- and a sterling 15-yard touchdown pass to Clayton Conn, delivering from the right hash marks all the way back to the left, 5 yards into the end zone. Jackson Erminio's kick gave St. Charles East the margin it needed, 21-20 with 8:36 left in the game.
"It was beautiful, it was beautiful. He put it there, he executed for sure," Clayton Conn said.
"I saw man coverage on the outside," Hayes said. "We had a corner route and he just got behind them. I let it go and he went after the ball, made a play for me. All the credit in the world goes to him and my offensive line for making that play happen."
Olsen called it, "a good, humbling week" for the Tigers.
"We'll have to come back next week, bounce back," he said. "Show our adversity and see if we can bounce back next week just as strong."