Oberman's tackle helps Buffalo Grove top Rolling Meadows
When asked if it was the biggest tackle of his high school football career, Buffalo Grove cornerback Brian Oberman reacted just as quickly as when he saw the elusive Michael Brigham avoid a defender and begin racing for the end zone.
"Yeah, I'd say so," he said without hesitation when asked about his game-saving tackle.
Host Rolling Meadows had just brought the big Homecoming crowd to its feet when Evan Grace hit Ethan Groak for a 12-yard TD pass to get the Mustangs to within 14-13 with 45 seconds left in the Mid-Suburban East football game.
Coach Sam Baker called for a 2-point conversion, and it looked mighty good when Brigham took the snap and made a nifty move to reverse field with seemingly open room to run ahead.
But Oberman made sure his team stayed ahead when he met Brigham just shy of the goal line to prevent the additional points and Meadows went on to secure a 1-point win over RM for the second time in a row (15-14 last spring).
"I knew it was just me," Oberman said when Brigham shook free while heading toward the east side of the south end zone. "So I knew I was going to have to stop him. When I saw him coming, I knew I had to make the play. I was worried about him going wide and I just got low."
"He (Oberman) is very disciplined, especially at the goal line," said BG coach Jeff Vlk. "He just stayed on the backside and did his job, making a great tackle on the goal line."
The win earned the Bison (6-1, 2-1) a third berth in the playoffs in six seasons under Vlk, and it's the coaches' fourth season where the Bison have five or more wins.
They led 14-0 at half, getting 56-yard and 5-yard TD runs by senior Scott Murray, who rushed for 105 yards on 11 carries behind Matthew Wolverton, CJ Relias, Sam Tzoubris, Eli Shereshovech, Andrew Smith and Dane Cottrell.
The Mustangs rallied with 2 TDs in the second half, both on receptions by Groark. The first one was a crossing pattern up the middle for 57 yards to complete a 4-play, 71-yard drive with 2:14 left in the third quarter.
BG seemed to be gaining momentum late in the final quarter as it drove from its own 27 to the RM 28. The big play was a 15-yard run by Jacob Pond with a face mask penalty adding on more yardage to the RM 34. Two plays later, after a delay-of-game penalty, BG quarterback Michael Cervantes rushed 12 yards to the RM 28 before the Mustangs recovered a fumble on their own 34 with 3:49 left.
Grace then marched the hosts (3-4, 1-2) to the end zone with a 66-yard drive that included a 25-yard run by Sam Englund and the 12-yard TD toss to Groark on third-and-eight setting up the 2-point conversion try.
"Groark was shut out in the first half and then he had two huge catches in the second half," said Mustangs coach Sam Baker. "And Brigham (4 catches for 74 yards) was lights out. He's a good football player.
"Hats off to Buffalo Grove. They had a good game plan. It was a good high school football game. And I would go for it (2-point conversion) ten out of ten times there. We believe in our kids and they are confident. He (Brigham) was almost in. "
Instead, just inches shy, thanks to Oberman's heads-up play.