Last-minute 2-point conversion lifts St. Charles North over Wheaton North
There was never a doubt.
As St. Charles North running back Drew Surges crossed the goal line for a touchdown to pull the North Stars within a point with 49 seconds to go against defending Class 7A champion Wheaton North, the offense was not leaving the field.
St. Charles North was always going for 2.
Surges took the snap out of the wildcat formation, appeared stopped and flipped a pass to tight end Jake Furtney, who took it into the end zone to seal a 22-21 comeback victory for the North Stars in DuKane Conference play.
"The conversation was, 'Believe. We have to go [for the 2-point conversion'," St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak said. "We learned the hard way last year and it wasn't ending that way this time. Wheaton North is an absolutely incredible team and is so well-coached so, yeah, we didn't want that game to go any longer."
Pomazak reminisced of a decision last season whether to kick the extra point or go for the 2-point conversion in overtime in Week 9 against Batavia, needing a win to get into the playoffs. He decided to kick the extra point a season ago, and his North Stars did not participate in the postseason.
With all of the momentum and Surges in his backfield, there was never a doubt. After clawing its way back from a 21-6 deficit in the second half, there was never a doubt. The victory handed the Falcons the program's first loss since October 30 of last season.
"We're just never going to give up on each other," said Surges, who finished with 121 total offensive yards and two rushing touchdowns. "I knew we were going to keep fighting, and we just had to keep believing. This means a lot to us. We grow tremendously every game, but it means so much more to find a way to win. It's part of our revenge this year ... we're coming for the whole DuKane [Conference]."
Not only did St. Charles North (3-1, 2-0 DuKane Conference) overcome 21 unanswered points from Wheaton North (3-1, 1-1) in the second half, but it did so after losing starting quarterback Will Vaske on the team's second play from scrimmage.
Pomazak said Vaske was day-to-day, but Vaske had ice and a sling comforting his right (throwing) shoulder within minutes of exiting the game. In stepped Ethan Plumb -- the North Stars' starting quarterback in its season opener.
Plumb made several key throws, especially on North's final offensive drive, finishing the night 19-for-42 passing for 256 yards. Key completions to Surges and Zach Priami in the waning moments of Friday night's game gave St. Charles North a chance at its come-from-behind victory.
"Easily the craziest game I've ever been a part of," Plumb said. "This group never stopped believing, knew it was going to take all four quarters to find a way and that's exactly what happened. From the offensive line, to the backs, receivers and coaching staff ... it literally took every single guy out there tonight."
Despite 165 rushing yards and two long scores from Tyler O'Connor, Wheaton North knows it can learn quite a bit from a defeat of this type.
Walker Owens added a 59-yard score midway through the third quarter for the Falcons, while O'Connor also finished with an interception on defense. However, his 37-yard field goal attempt as time expired fell just short as the North Stars celebrated on their senior night.
"We didn't play four quarters," Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski said. "That was a great high school football game and I'm sure it was fun to watch, but tonight gave us some things we need to work on and try to improve on."