Burlington Central upsets Crystal Lake South

 
By Jerry Birchfield
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/23/2022 11:01 PM

Burlington Central rallied twice and stopped a Crystal Lake South last-second scoring attempt to win its Fox Valley Conference matchup Friday, 24-20.

With 34 seconds left to play, a Rocket 33-yard field-goal attempt failed, and the host Gators took over on their 20-yard line. Completing 3 passes for 59 yards, rushing for two more and benefiting from a Central penalty, Crystal Lake South advanced to the Rockets' 10-yard line with 2.3 seconds on the clock.

 

The Gators tried one more pass play but Caden Casimino's throw into the end zone fell incomplete as time expired.

"We been talking about it all year. Just finish the game and come out on top and that's what we did tonight," said first-year Central coach Brian Iossi.

It was the second time Central fans held their breaths.

The Rockets pulled back in front 24-20 with 8:41 left play. Central quarterback Jackson Alcorn rolled to his left, evaded Gators tacklers and sprinted 40 yards for the score. However, a yellow flagged was dropped, but after the officials conferred, they waved off the penalty and confirmed the touchdown.

"The pocket broke down, but I saw that the left side was wide open and I knew I could beat the left side linebacker with my speed," Alcorn said. "And my wide receiver LJ Kerr made a great block."

Burlington Central (2-3, 2-3) scored first in the game, completing its opening drive with a 33-yard Griffin Kollhoff field goal.

Crystal Lake South (3-2, 3-2) retook the lead, 7-3 with 1:18 left in the first quarter. On their third possession of the game, the Gators marched 80 yards in seven plays capped by a 5-yard TD pass from Casimino (14 for 27 for 246 yard) to Michael Prokos (4 catches for 107 yards).

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The Rockets retook the lead, 10-7 in the second quarter. Burlington Central recovered a bad Crystal Lake South punt snap on the Gators' 2-yard line. Two plays later, Alcorn (9 for 18 for 114 yards) connected with Caden West for 2-yard scoring pass.

Burlington Central extended its lead to 17-7 in the waning seconds of the first half. With 13.2 seconds left on the clock, Alcorn and West connected again, this time on a 16-yard pass.

Momentum swung back to the Gators in the third quarter. Crystal Lake South scored two touchdowns to retake the lead, 20-17.

On the second play of the third quarter, Casimino completed a screen pass to Nathan Van Witzenburg, who ran 54 yards to score.

The Gators also scored on their next possession, a 4-yard Jon Miller run. In between the two drives, Crystal Lake South stopped the Central offense on a 4th-and-1 situation.

"We struggled at times and had some adversity, but we just kept battling," Iossi said. "We been preaching that all year. Battle, fight and try to win the game."

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