Streamwood scores late to topple Elgin
Momentum is such a fickle thing. Momentum changed allegiances between Streamwood and Elgin numerous times in the second half, but it ended up residing on the Sabres' sideline as they pulled out a 32-24 Upstate Eight win at Memorial Field.
Isaac Martinez's 20-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion run with 1:33 to play put the Sabres ahead to stay.
Elgin had 1 final possession and Jeffery Lomax had the Maroons moving, but Jaydon Varnado's interception with 41 seconds left provided the Sabres with the final momentum swing. Streamwood ran out the clock from there.
"I think every week they're learning new lessons and we're trying to change the culture, change the habits of Streamwood football," said coach Keith McMaster. "I'm so proud of those guys and their efforts."
Contrasting styles battled it out: Streamwood's ground and pound offense led by Martinez's 171 rushing yards against Elgin's pass-first attack led by Lomax. Lomax completed 15 of 17 attempts for 147 yards but also got it done on the ground, running for 103 yards on 11 tries.
The Sabres' ball control kept Elgin's offense off the field for much of the first half as Streamwood built a 16-0 lead. Martinez's 4-yard TD run put the Sabres ahead in the first quarter, and Kevin Lunz passed to Elvis Iroegbulem for another score before halftime.
Streamwood's defense did its part, holding the Maroons to 83 yards while pitching a first-half shutout. Interceptions by Varnrado and Darrell Luce helped keep the Maroons out of the end zone.
"In the first half, they had a great half," McMaster said of his defense. "In the second half, give [Elgin] credit, they really marched back. It was fantastic to see them bounce back from giving up 2 scores, too."
Elgin turned the tide quickly after the break. Lomax's 5-yard pass to Noah Mack capped a 52-yard drive after a failed onside kick attempt to open the second half.
Elgin had better luck with its next onside kick attempt as Darien Jackson recovered at the Streamwood 35. It took the Maroons just 2 plays to tie the game, with Lomax hitting Alex West for the score. West, who was wide open, had to turn completely around to find the ball, then easily made it to the end zone.
Streamwood regained the lead on Lunz's 2-yard sneak.
The Sabres' defense forced a 3-and-out and Streamwood looked ready to ice the game with a first down at Elgin's 4-yard line. Mack picked off a pass in the end zone and appeared to return it all the way for a 100-yard score, but a penalty left the Maroons with possession at their own 8-yard line.
Undeterred, they marched 92 yards in 13 plays, tying the game again on Lomax's 13-yard scamper.
But this time the Sabres controlled the onside kick and marched 58 yards for the winning score.