Late rally, defensive stand push Buffalo Grove over Rolling Meadows
A crisp, clear 40 nighttime temperature at the opening kickoff.
The sounds of pads banging, the band playing, cheering crowds, and teammates on opposite sidelines cheering one another on.
To all who knew late Buffalo Grove coach Grant Blaney, the man who built the Bison program from scratch upon the school's opening in 1973, turning it into a state power by the time his 16-season tenure ended in 1989, he would've enjoyed this type of night.
The other thing Blaney, who passed away in January at the age of 86, would've liked was the fourth-quarter rally and defensive stand that the home team came up with in a 15-14 win over visiting Rolling Meadows at the stadium that bears his name in a hard-fought Mid-Suburban East battle Friday night.
"It was ugly at times on both sides," Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Vlk said. "But our message at halftime was that we need to respond to adversity and that's what our kids did."
Two-time defending East champ Meadows (0-2, 0-2) took a 14-7 advantage into the final 12 minutes of play thanks to a pair of 1-yard Michael Radon keepers.
It was on the opening play of the quarter that a 44-yard BG punt by Scott Murray pinned the Mustangs down on their own 9. On the following snap from center, the BG (2-0, 2-0) defense made a successful blitz that corralled Radon in the end zone for a safety when he was brought down by Jacob Pond to pull them within 14-9 just 18 ticks in.
After a short free kick put the Bison in business at their own 41, senior quarterback Ian Luyando (13-20-223 yards) found Nick Passannante for 40 yards to the Meadows 9. Junior Cole Nixon then stampeded his way in from the 7 two plays later for the touchdown that gave them their final margin of victory.
The Mustangs' final attempt at victory would be thwarted as Murray would make consecutive sacks of Radon (13-20, 161 yards) that pushed them all the way from their 45 back to the 21 where Radon's desperation toss to Ethan Kakavetsis was hauled in at the BG 47. But Meadows was unable to stop the clock, having used in final time out on Murray's second sack.
"It was a great effort, we rallied at the end," Murray said. "We came together as a team. It was awesome."
Vlk credited his team's halftime adjustments.
"We showed them a few looks that we had not shown them at all on film," he said. "Their QB is a heck of a player and we had to do what we could to contain him. That's why Scott was in there."