WW South responds with an OT win

Daily Herald – D.J. Wanberg – Article updated: 10/3/2014 11:36 PM

Even before Friday’s home game, the Wheaton Warrenville South football team had its back against the wall.

And then throughout the contest against Lake Park, same thing.

Maybe adversity brings out the best in WW South. …cont. below

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Facing elimination from playoff contention, the Tigers responded to each challenge. And with J.J Johnson’s 3-yard run in overtime, his second score of the game, WW South prevailed 14-7 to improve to 2-4 and 1-1 in the DuPage Valley Conference.

“As a junior, I did not want this to be the seniors’ last game (in playoff contention) and I want to do what I can to help us reach the playoffs,” Johnson said.

In a game featuring two of DuPage County’s top defenses, both came through in a big way.

After the Tigers’ go-ahead OT score, the Lancers (4-2, 1-1) got their shot starting at the WW South 10.

Kenny Jones gained a yard on the first play, followed by an incomplete pass and a running play that gained nothing. That set up a fourth-and-goal from the 9, but obviously Lake Park was deep in the Tigers’ red zone. One more play would keep the game going, or WW South would get the victory.

WW South had answered all challenges to this point. Would they again?

Jake Kyllonen answered for his team, intercepting his second pass of the evening to seal the victory.

“We just had to keep playing a tough game and we had confidence in ourselves,” Kyllonen said.

It was definitely gut-check time for Wheaton Warrenville South on the drive that tied the game. The Tigers got the ball back at their own 13 with 10:13 left. The team moved the ball steadily down the field and was helped by a Lake Park 15-yard facemask penalty, but WW South still faced fourth-and-10 from the Lancers 30. Quarterback Josh Prueter scrambled and found Elezar Romero for a 19-yard gain and a first down. Three plays later, the Tigers were facing fourth-and-1 on the Lake Park 4 with 4:27 left in the game when Johnson ran for the tying touchdown.

“It was a real good team victory. Lake Park is a good team,” said WW South coach Ron Muhitch. “The kids have worked through so much adversity. Our offensive line is beat up. Our offense has been trying to find an identity. Our defense has been solid all season.”

With two minutes left in the game, Tigers quarterback Josh Prueter left the game after apparently hitting his head hard on the ground during a sack. Muhitch said Prueter was “fine” but was held out the rest of the game and replaced by Michael Stebbins as a precaution.

It will be another big challenge next Friday for WW South as it travels to Naperville North (2-4, 0-2) to face another team trying to stay in playoff contention.

Lake Park got on the scoreboard first late in the first half when Joe Spitalli blocked a punt that put the Lancers on the WW South 17 with 52.1 seconds left. Three plays later, quarterback Michael Perry lofted a 3-yard pass that landed in the hands of Antonio Shenault, who waited for it in the end zone.

“We played really hard, but made a lot of mistakes,” said Lanceers coach Chris Roll. “We made enough big plays offensively to get the lead, but didn’t make enough to win the game.”

Read article here: http://football.dailyherald.com/article/20141003/sports/141009249/