WW South gets crucial fifth victory, edging Glenbard North
Needing a victory on Senior Night to reach the postseason, Wheaton Warrenville South added yet another thrilling chapter to its storied history.
A 16-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Brown to Lance Kottke with 2:28 left gave the Tigers a 10-7 win over Glenbard North on Friday.
Most importantly, WW South improved to 5-4 (4-3 DuKane Conference) and extended its season by at least a week.
The game-winning drive started at the Tigers' 35-yard line and was led by Brown, the backup QB who had entered in the second quarter after an injury to starter Matt Sommerdyke. Brown completed a 35-yard pass to Brandon Bell and then later found Kottke over the middle off play-action for the TD.
"We knew this would be a tough battle," Kottke said. "We've had a lot of injuries this year. After Matt went out, we all got behind Kellen. He's been waiting for this for three and a half years. He's our motivational guy, he picks everyone's heads up when we get down. We knew if we rallied behind him, we'd win the football game.
"It's incredible, I can't describe it. I just love the atmosphere here. Tiger football is special."
The defense then put an exclamation point on their stellar performance, forcing a turnover on downs in the closing seconds after the Panthers were within 30 yards of the end zone. Louie Bellocchio had two sacks on that final drive, while Colin Moore and Quentin Spencer each had interceptions earlier in the game.
"This was great, we came together as a team," Bellocchio said. "We all love each other so much. It was so awesome to see us come together and beat a big-time team like this.
"On defense, we take pride in getting everyone to the ball. We might not have Division I guys, but we have heart and that's all we need."
WW South took an early 3-0 lead on a 23-yard field goal by Ben Berkley. Brown finished with 101 passing yards with Spencer catching four balls for 42 yards.
"I'm really proud of these seniors," WW South coach Sean Norris said. "They showed so much heart. We battled and we accomplished what we needed to.
"Kellen came in and just showed real poise. That's a senior who was prepared for the moment. He's a kid who has been committed to the program and does all the right things. All that work paid off and showed tonight."
After being held scoreless through three quarters, Glenbard North took a 7-3 lead less than a minute into the fourth on a 17-yard run by Sam Palmer.
He finished with 74 yards on 17 carries while Damarion Elliston had 64 yards on 12 attempts. QB Justin Bland also passed for 113 yards for the Panthers (6-3, 4-3).
Glenbard North's three losses have come by a combined 5 points.
"We just couldn't get it done offensively," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. "Defensively, we played well enough to win. But we couldn't move the ball. It's a disappointing way to go into the postseason but nevertheless it's now a new season."