Hoffman Estates rallies to edge Elk Grove
Dimarte Neustader made the most of his opportunity and it helped Hoffman Estates move on.
Neustader broke off an 18-yard touchdown run with 2:25 to play to help lift Hoffman Estates past Elk Grove 29-22 Saturday in the opening round of the Class 7A playoffs in Elk Grove.
Hoffman Estates (7-3), which is seeded 20th, will host fourth-seeded St. Charles North next weekend. The day and time will be announced Monday.
It was also a revenge win for Hoffman, which lost to Elk Grove 24-14 in the second week of the regular season.
"We always say things happen for reason," Hoffman Estates coach Tim Heyse said. "Quincy (Williams) was out last week and Dimarte got all those carries against Palatine. When he (Williams) went down, Dimarte stepped right in like nothing bothered him."
Neustader stepped in for Williams after Williams was injured in the fourth quarter. His team had just fallen behind 22-21 to 13th-seeded Elk Grove (7-3) with 4:08 left.
The Hawks flew 66 yards in just over 90 seconds with Aiden Cyr completing a trio of passes and Neustader with three runs, including the 18-yarder to put the Hawks up for good.
"I knew I had to be ready just in case and I was," Neustader said. "My offensive line did their job. They got me open to where to where I was supposed to get to. I saw the hole and scored."
Cyr threw the conversion pass to Brett Phillips and then the Hawks defense held on for the victory.
"We have trust in everybody here," said Cyr, who was 15-of-23 for 213 yards. "We have playmakers everywhere and I knew when we got the ball back we would win."
Elk Grove (7-3) had rallied from a 21-6 deficit to lead.
Hoffman's defense came up with a pair of huge stops inside the red zone to turn away Elk Grove.
The Hawks took the momentum and running the ball with Williams, mounted a 13-play, 82-yard drive, culminated by Cyr's three-yard run to make it 7-0.
Hoffman again put together a 13-play drive. This time it was Cyr who had a big part of the drive, completing five passes. Williams capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 with 2:58 left in the half.
Elk Grove came up with a huge defensive play of its won to get back into the game when Owen Davenport recovered a fumble at the Hoffman 43. Three plays later Jacob Elsner crashed over from the one to make it 14-6 just before the end of the half.
Hoffman surged ahead 20-6 on Williams' second touchdown of the game on a 9-yard run.
"It wasn't that hard to watch at the end," said Williams, who was on crutches but had rushed for 113 yards and had 67 receiving yards.
"I had to cheer on my team. My team helped me up."
The Grens fired back on a 30-yard field goal by Matt Martorano and Elsner's second one-yard touchdown plunge to cut the lead to 22-16.
Elk Grove then pulled ahead 22-21 with 4:08 left as Mitch Janczak (14-of-23, 180 yards) connected with Martorano in the back of the end zone on a 9-yard touchdown pass.
But the Grens couldn't hold on and it was a difficult end to a terrific season for Elk Grove which had qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
"These kids represented our community with a lot of pride the whole year," Elk Grove coach Miles Osei said. "I am super proud of the kids. We love this team. They don't quit and they have changed the cycle here."
My. Carmel 49, Buffalo Grove 3:
Buffalo Grove (4-6) ha its season end with a long trip and a long day at Mt., Carmel. Buffalo Grove had 136 yards of offense, but couldn't dent the end zone against the 7A top-seeded Caravan.
Jake Rubino booted a 21-yard field goal for Buffalo Grove, which had cut the Mt. Carmel lead to 7-3 early in the second quarter. Mt. Carmel (10-0) then scored 42 consecutive points to pull away.