Saturday, October 11, 2008

Giants take first in conference after triple OT win

DEERFIELD, Ill.-- For much of the game, the Deerfield football team relied on running back Sean Sally to get the ball into the red-zone. When the game was on the line in the third overtime, Highland Park knew exactly what to do.

The Giants (5-2, 3-0 Central Suburban League North) stopped Sally for the first two plays of the drive, which forced Warriors coach Steve Winiecki to call for a desperation pass that never found the hands of a DHS receiver.

DHS (4-3, 2-1 CSL North) saved the drive when quarterback Jason Hendel came in to boot a 21-yard field goal, but it was the Giants who would ultimately determine the outcome of this game. Senior Anthony Kopp threw a 10-yard pass to wide receiver Brian Wilneff to drop a 28-24 decision over the Warriors.

Both teams dominated defensively in the first half and did not allow the other to get inside field goal range.

The running game was a key component to getting what little offense there was going in the first half as Hendel ran for 15 yards in the second quarter.

The senior’s success on the ground backfired near the end of the first half when he was sacked for an eight-yard loss. It was the last time Hendel would take snaps against HP after suffering a game-ending shoulder injury.

The injury meant that quarterback Matt Healy would enter the game in his first action at the varsity level.

Winiecki did not allow Healy to throw a single pass in the remaining two minutes of the first half as Sally continued to rack up the yards for the Warriors.

The scoreless game continued until there was 4:04 left in the third quarter when running back Courtney Frison put the Giants up 7-0 on an eight-yard run.

It took until the final seconds of the quarter before the Warriors had anything significant go their way. Senior Francisco Molina recovered a loose ball after forcing Kopp to fumble it on Deerfield’s 19-yard line.

Its first touchdown came two minutes into the fourth quarter when Healy threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to senior Milos Antic. The score followed up with an onside kick that gave the Giants a short field, but the ball came right back to the Warriors after a quick three-and-out.

Healy took matters into his own hands by running for the first down after completing a nine-yard pass on the previous play, but the ball would not stay with DHS for long. Center Greg Larmore botched a snap that led to a fumble recovery for HP on the Warriors’ 35-yard line.

Frison broke loose and ran for 11 yards, but the Warriors would recover the ball once again.

Junior Kyle Magnus intercepted a pass in the end zone and gave DHS possession at the 2-yard line, but resulted in a punt from its own goal-line. Both teams struggled at converting on third-down plays and forced the game into extra time.

In the first OT, Healy recovered his own fumble and threw a touchdown pass to senior Luke Cohen. Kopp responded with a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brad Schwartz.

The quarterback would get the ball back in the second overtime, but threw two incomplete passes before hooking up with Wilneff to put the Giants ahead.

Healy found Cohen again on the first play and forced the third overtime, but eventually had to settle on a field goal, which cost Deerfield its first conference loss.

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