Vierneisel's last-minute TD pass, 2-point conversion, lifts Prospect over Maine South, 42-41
Brad Vierneisel leapt Prospect past Maine South 42-41 Thursday in Park Ridge.
Vierneisel threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Gavin Flannigan with 44.5 seconds left to pull the Knights to within 42-41. Prospect opted to go for two and Vierneisel, when he couldn't find anyone open in the end zone, rolled to his right and leapt over a Maine South defender for the winning score,
Vierneisel, who is in just his fourth start at quarterback, threw for 441 yards and four touchdowns. He also and ran for another touchdown and a conversion before an overflow crowd.
The senior was terrific, especially in the first half when he threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns.
After Maine South (2-2) took a 6-0 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Jack DeFillippis, it was Vierneisel's turn. He connected with Frank Covey on an 83-yard touchdown pass to put the Knights up 7-6. It was a costly play as Covey came up injured and did not return.
Even without their Northwestern-commit wideout, Vierneisel and the Knights (4-0) were still able to operate at a high level.
Maine South took a 13-7 lead as Ryan Pothast made an incredible one-handed catch on a 24-yard pass from DeFillippis.
Prospect answered on a pair of touchdown passes from Vierneisel to Sebastian Wildhart covering 48 and 12 yards. Vierneisel then closed out the half with a one-yard sneak to make it 27-13.
Maine South closed to 27-20 early in the third quarter. Michael Dellumo had a three-yard touchdown run.
Noah Easter came back to score on a three-yard run for the Knights to make it 34-20. It was set up on an eight-yard quarterback draw by Vierneisel on 4th-and-6 from the 11.
The game then had a crazy turn.
Prospect had a 80-yard pass play to the Maine South one erased due to a penalty. On the very next play, Brady Marques picked off a deflected pass and returned it six yards for a touchdown and suddenly the Hawks were back in at 34-27.
Maine South used that momentum to score on a 12-yard screen pass from DeFillippis to Dellumo. But the conversion kick went wide and Prospect led 34-33 with 7:43 to play.
Maine South took a 41-34 lead with 3:19 left to play. DeFillippis threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Evan Agosto. DeFillipis then followed with a conversion pass to Logan Tomlinson.
Conant 49, Vernon Hills 14:
Conant appeared to have a clear game plan in mind for this Thursday battle of the Cougars. The visitors launched an Antonio Ramsey showcase from the start.
On Conant's first offensive snap, the senior wingback took a pitch 81 yards down the visiting sideline for a touchdown. Conant's second possession was a Ramsey 11-yard run, 29-yard reception and 2-yard touchdown run.
Conant rolled to a 49-14 victory in this Mid-Suburban, Central Suburban crossover game, improving to 4-0 on the season.
"I really didn't know I was getting the ball early," Ramsey said. "We had a bad week of practice, so we just tried to get back to it. We just wanted to go full-speed and work as hard as we can."
When Ramsey scored on a 30-yard run in the second quarter to put the visitors up 35-14, the Vernon Hills p.a. announcer joked that fans should check to see if they started Ramsey on their fantasy teams this week.
Ramsey's final numbers were 7 carries for 189 yards, plus the 29-yard reception. He also plays cornerback on defense and had an interception on a long pass attempt.
"He's an awesome kid, the epitome of what you want in a kid, on and off the field," Conant coach Bryan Stortz said. "He really could be our quarterback, but for the betterment of the team, we use him in so many different spots, we feel like we need to reward him for the leadership he's shown the other guys."
Conant's offensive front of Ricardo Rodriguez, Harley Stary, Jonathan Gorski. Nicholas Mahnke and Jash Patel isn't the biggest group, but on this night, they were getting in front of the sweeps and clearing plenty of room. Fullback Dominic Mininni added 97 yards on 10 carries up the middle.
"They're not the biggest guys, but they work the hardest," Ramsey said of the lineman. "I've got to give it all to them. I can't do my job without them. They lead our team, they're leaders. They're relentless, they never give up."
After gaining 103 yards on 13 carries in the first half, VH senior running back Ben Choi spent the second half seated on the bench with an ice pack on his right leg.
Vernon Hills (0-4) lost one of its two-way playmakers, junior Anthony Martorano, to an apparent ankle injury late in the first quarter.
Vernon Hills didn't have much luck throwing the ball and had some drops on potential big gains. Left-handed quarterback Nolan Lazor finished the night 12 for 32 for 111 yards.
After the opening kickoff, Vernon Hills was on the verge of going three-and-out, but a pass interference penalty kept the drive alive and the offense moved 54 yards on six running plays to take an early 7-0 lead on Jack Pristas' 2-yard run. A 44-yard TD run by Choi knotted the score at 14-14 with 2:19 left in the first quarter.
-- Mike McGraw
Buffalo Grove 23, Deerfield 13:
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.
-- Bill Esbrook