Buffalo Grove's big 2nd half keys win over Deerfield
Thursday night at Deerfield, Buffalo Grove must have been happy to see the first 21 minutes and 11 seconds of the game go in the books.
In that time span, the Bison gave up an opening kickoff touchdown runback to the Warriors, then threw 2 interceptions and lost a fumble.
But that all changed with 2:49 remaining in the first half.
BG took control of the ball in Deerfield territory at the 35 and just 16 seconds later, Bison junior Matthew Maradkel ran 16 yards for a score to tie the game.
Then the Bison offense came alive in the second half, and they were able to hold off a stirring Warriors comeback to win 23-13.
"We made some mistakes tonight," said BG cornerback Tyler Baker, "but overall we played really well as a group."
It was the defensive unit that kept the Bison in the game through two quarters.
Connor Risner and Alex Branas made some big stops early, then junior Caden Watson came up with a huge sack midway through the 2nd period to stop a Warriors drive.
On offense, receivers Michael Cervantes (8 catches) and Samuel Cho (4 catches) dominated in the first half, but due to the miscues, BG went to intermission tied 7-7.
The Bison had another chance to score just before halftime, but a 42-yard field goal attempt sailed just wide.
In the third quarter, BG took the kickoff and marched right down the field.
They drove to the Deerfield 13-yard line, where QB Payton Diaz found Anthony Palano with a 13-yard strike over the middle to take the lead.
The BG defense kept the pressure on, and the visitors increased the advantage to 17-7 on a Jake Rubino 36-yard field goal.
Deerfield was able to punch a late touchdown, and was driving again in the final minute but the BG defense rose to the occasion with a fourth down stop.
The Bison tacked on a late TD at the buzzer to account for the final score.
Cervantes finished with 10 receptions on the night.
"Just make a big play," Baker added of the Bison fourth quarter effort. "Keep our heads up. They went down and scored but we didn't give in.