Daily Herald – Ken Schmit / Article updated: 10/18/2014 2:04 AM
All Wheaton Warrenville South’s football team wanted was a chance.
Now the Tigers have it.
With Friday’s hard-fought 7-3 win over visiting Glenbard North, WW South remains alive for a playoff berth and the DuPage Valley Conference title.
To achieve both goals the Tigers (4-4, 3-1) must win at Naperville Central (7-1, 4-0), which beat WW South 10-7 in Week 4 nonconference action. With Friday’s loss, meanwhile, Glenbard North (3-5, 1-3) sees its streak of 11 straight playoff appearances come to an end.
“It’s going to be a crazy game, we already played them once,” said Tigers defensive lineman Soloman Jackson. “They have a good O-line, they pound the ball. We’ve just got to be strong.”
One stat aptly describes Friday’s game: There were 20 punts.
All the points were scored in the second quarter when Panthers kicker Steve Adamatis kicked a 25-yard field goal and, three minutes later, WW South quarterback Mike Stebbins threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Keishawn Watson.
“That play is the money play,” Watson said. “That’s where I usually score. Stebbins threw a great ball, the O-line held up and I was just trying to make a play for the team and help us win.”
The Tigers’ stingy defense made the one score hold up.
Glenbard North had one last chance when a fumble recovery gave the Panthers the ball at midfield with 3:23 left. Sacks by Zach Mentzer and Jaime Chavez, however, helped seal the win.
“We just couldn’t muster enough on the offensive side,” said Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens, whose team played without a few key offensive players, including leading rusher Devion Hodges, for what Wilkens termed an athletic code violation. “Obviously, Devion not playing hurts. He’s one of the best backs in the conference. But there were still opportunities to win this football game.”
There were 13 three-and-outs, an interception on each side and three additional turnovers on fumbles. WW South also had a punt blocked.
“When they got the field goal I wanted to make sure everyone had their heads up,” Chavez said. “We just played hard and capitalized on everything.”
Despite the many big plays, none of them came on offense after Stebbins’ pass to Watson, who had 3 catches for 46 yards. Stebbins played again for injured Josh Prueter, while Tigers running back Jonathan Johnson had 34 yards on 21 carries.
Brett Gasiorowski, playing for Panthers quarterback Shane Conway, threw for 46 yards and rushed for 11 as the team amassed only 127 total yards to WW South’s 134.
“The seniors now are in a position to do what they thought they could do, and that is go for a conference title,” said Tigers coach Ron Muhitch. “If they can beat a very good Naperville Central team on their turf, they’ll have earned the title and they will have earned the opportunity to get in the playoffs, which is all I was hoping for.”
/ Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit Article link: http://football.dailyherald.com/article/20141017/sports/141018261/
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit