St. Francis score a TD and a 2-point conversion in the final seconds to stun IC Catholic Prep
After leading his team to another stunning last-second comeback victory Friday night, St. Francis senior quarterback Allessio Milivojevic wanted to make one last point.
Walking along the Spartans' bench, the Ball State recruit started pounding his chest over and over to put an exclamation point on any doubts about his ability to lead his team to a memorable comeback. For the second straight week, Milivojevic led a lengthy, clock-eating drive that ended with a touchdown.
On Friday, Milivojevic capped a 13-play, 81-yard drive by throwing an 8-yard laser touchdown pass to his brother, sophomore Dario Milivojevic, in the back of the end zone with 19.1 seconds left. Alessio Milivojevic capped the comeback by hitting DeShaun Williams for the 2-point conversion in the end zone to spark St. Francis to an inspiring 35-34 win over IC Catholic in CCL/ESCC Orange play.
"I was thinking about the two weeks we couldn't get (the late touchdown) earlier this season," Alessio said. "I was thinking about how we just got it tonight, in front of our friends and family against a very good IC Catholic team. Last week it was the same thing, where we had to drive it down. We had about four minutes last week against Joliet Catholic."
A week after leading the Spartans to a thrilling touchdown drive in the final seconds of a 33-28 win over Joliet Catholic, Alessio Milivojevic made sure the sequel was even more dramatic. He completed 25-of-37 passes for 289 yards and 2 touchdown passes, while adding two rushing touchdowns to go with 47 yards rushing, including pivotal runs that extended drives in the fourth quarter.
"On fourth down we drew something up, with the guy coming all the way back because they were losing guys coming all the way across the field, so I hit my brother for a touchdown," Alessio said of the winning TD pass. "The last (PAT) play we had a perfect play and it was a perfect cross to DeShaun for a touchdown. My line was amazing all day, and I'm so grateful to have them on my team."
Just like last Friday, the Spartans (4-2, 1-1) were on the edge of losing a home game by double digits, with the Knights (5-1, 1-1) punishing them with a hard-charging running game to take a 27-14 lead following Joey Gliatta's 7-yard touchdown with 4:58 left in the third quarter.
And just like last week, the Spartans took a patient approach, relying on their defense to make key stops, then unleashing Alessio Milivojevic's two-way game and hurry-up offense spark another comeback. The Spartans sliced the deficit down to 27-21 on Alessio Milivojevic's 9-yard TD strike to Zachary Washington late in the third.
The Spartans knotted the game at 27-27 following Alessio Milovojevic's 10-yard TD plunge, in which he leapt over an IC Catholic defender to score on fourth down. The Knights, the defending Class 3A champions, regained the lead on Gliatta's 4-yard touchdown with 4:21 left in the game, leaving plenty of time for the Spartans to mount a game-winning drive.
"What an great, great and unbelievable football game," St. Francis coach Bob McMillen said. "We talked about earlier that if we tied the game, we would go for the win. Alessio is a competitor and a leader. We tried not to panic because it was a long time. Our defense didn't look good early. Our kids played well and did the same thing against Joliet Catholic. I'm proud of these boys. It was a war out there. We both had injuries. I'm happy for the St. Francis community."
IC Catholic Prep coach Bob Kreft credited the Spartans for knocking his team off the unbeaten ranks.
"That was a tough football game," Kreft said. "It was hard fought, and sometimes it doesn't go your way. The players played really hard. We have to play better. We gave their quarterback too much time to throw, and when you give him that much time, he will beat you. He's a good football player."