St. Viator overcomes adversity to beat St. Pat's in OT
When St. Viator quarterback Jack Mahoney left the game in the third quarter with a left ankle injury the Lions could have thrown in the towel.
Instead St. Viator mustered up the courage for a bounce-back win 21-20 in overtime Saturday night against St. Patrick in a game played at Triton College in River Grove.
"The kids rallied and never gave up," said St. Viator coach Dave Archibald. "This team came out and played for Mahoney. He's carried us this season and gives his whole heart to this team every day."
Reserve quarterback Jack Ziebka took over in the latter stages of the third quarter and the Lions trailing 14-3.
Mahoney had just run for 12 yards to the Shamrocks' 27-yard line before twisting his left ankle.
On his first play Ziebka connected with Joseph Laterza for a 24-yard gain. On fourth down, Giuseppe Maffei kicked a 21-yard field with 11 seconds left in the quarter to cut the St. Patrick lead to 14-6.
"We talked at halftime about how we needed this win," said Ziebka. "When we trailed 14-3 and then Jack went down people thought we were done. But we hit the field goal and then we got the punt block for the TD."
The Lions' defense pinned the Shamrocks (2-4, 1-1) on their own 25, forcing St. Patrick to punt.
Parker Hellgeth put a rush through the Shamrock line and deflected the punt. The ball rolled into the end zone where Michael Grossi fell on the ball for the touchdown.
Ziebka made the play of the game, connecting on an 18-yard 2-point play to Laterza after an offensive pass interference call on the conversion play to tie the game at 14 with 2:26 left in regulation.
The Lions' Daniel Niesman intercepted St. Patrick quarterback Aidan Larson (17-for-40, 189 yards 1 INT) at the St. Patrick 28 put could not take advantage of the play and then fumbled the ball back to the Shamrocks at their 42. The Shamrocks then ran out the clock, forcing overtime.
Lineman Jeremiah Pittman lined up in the backfield on third down at the St. Patrick 3 but only made it to the 1. Pittman's number was called again and this time he scored for a 20-14 lead. Maffei kicked the extra point.
"Those plays have not always worked this year," said Pittman. "But this time it did. It was a mixture of nervousness and excitement for me."
The Shamrocks then had their turn and after a pass interference call on the Lions, the Shamrocks had the ball on the 5-yard line. Ed Wozny, who had scored the Shamrocks' second touchdown, scored from the 5.
Edison Lane's extra point kick did not get up high enough over the Lions' defensive line, bouncing off the helmets of the Lions' linemen and falling to the ground.
The Lions (4-2, 2-0, ESCC/CCL Purple) were jubilant.
"With all the adversity we went trough with injured players and plays that didn't go our way I am so happy for these kids," said Archibald. "I'm so proud of these players. They never quit and found a way to win."