Wauconda holds on for last-second win over Antioch
The Wauconda players jumped for joy after watching the ball fall short of the crossbar in Antioch's attempt to take the lead in the final 20 seconds.
The game, however, wasn't over yet. The kicker laid on the ground next to a yellow flag.
Antioch got a second shot at a game-winner, but it didn't matter as the kick went wide left. The Bulldogs prevailed for 16-14 victory in a smash-mouth, ground-dominated game for the lead in the Northern Lake County Conference.
"I never felt good until that last kick went wide," Wauconda coach Chris Prostka said. "It was a stressful night."
Antioch is 42-3 all time in conference play, however, two of those losses have come in consecutive years to Wauconda. The Bulldogs are now 6-0 overall this season and 4-0 in conference play. Antioch is 3-3, 3-1.
Mistakes from Wauconda kept Antioch alive to the final seconds. Freshman linebacker Jackson Rudolph started the last drive with a sack. A pass breakout a play later would have resulted in 3rd-and-17, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty kept the Sequoits in the game.
"I was a little nervous," Rudolph said. "But we pulled through and we knew we were going to stop them."
The Sequoits took that opportunity and marched the ball 44 yards down the field with less than 2 minutes to go to set up the opportunity for a game-winning kick.
Wauconda did a better job moving the ball throughout the game, but when Antioch needed a big play they got it. The Bulldogs drove three times inside the 30, but scored no points. On one occasion, Antioch forced a fumble recovered by Martin Cohen.
Cohen also had 39 yards rushing and 72 yards receiving along with a touchdown catch. Jacob Pankau also scored for the Sequoits.
Both teams relied heavily on the ground game, but both defenses were ready. Antioch's Nick Day was the game's leading rushing with 62 yards.
Connor Vanselow led the Bulldogs with 54 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Jacob Norris scored his team's other touchdown on a 4-yard reception from Logan Olsen.
"Logan Olsen, that is my man," Norris said. "He is No. 1 in my heart."
The Bulldogs completed only nine passes, but when they did throw it went for big chunks, averaging 20 yards per completion.
Big plays helped the Bulldogs get going early, moving the ball 61 yards in five plays. Antioch, however, held strong holding them at the 6-yard line to force a 23-yard field goal by Zac Johnson, putting the score at 3-0.
Wauconda never relinquished the lead.
"We didn't deserve to win," Antioch coach Brian Clashagel said. "Even if we make (the game-winning kick) I don't think we deserved to win. We might have escaped. Wauconda outplayed us."