By Steve Reaven, Chicago Tribune October 24th 2014 10:57pm – Read article here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/ct-spt-1025-prep-football-wheaton-south-naperville-20141024-story.html
Starting the season with four losses in five games made Wheaton Warrenville South’s margin of error for a playoff berth nonexistent during the regular season’s final month.
After steadying the ship with three consecutive victories, the Tigers’ late-season resurgence continued Friday night in miraculous fashion when they knocked off Naperville Central 27-20 to punch their 11th postseason ticket in 12 years and a share of the DuPage Valley Conference title.
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The winning score came with 43 seconds remaining when receiver Keishawn Watson scooped up teammate Jonathan Johnson’s fumble and rambled 75 yards untouched to the end zone.
“That was the luckiest play I’ve ever been a part of in my life,” Watson said. “Getting in the end zone was the only thing I was trying to worry about.”
Naperville Central Connor Assalley’s 28-yard field goal with 1 minute, 15 seconds left tied the score at 20-20. The Tigers (5-4, 4-1) took over at their own 6 after a holding call on the ensuing kickoff and were inches from being pinned for a safety on the next play, a 5-yard loss on a Johnson run. But he broke free for 20 yards up the middle on third down before fumbling.
The Tigers took a 20-17 lead midway through the final quarter on a 32-yard field goal from Ben Flores, his second in a 2 1/2-minute span. The latter of the two was set up after Parker Fuson recovered a fumbled kickoff return, which came following Kevin Clifford’s 77-yard run had given Naperville Central (7-2, 4-1) a short-lived 17-14 advantage.
“The best moment of my life.” Fuson said. “That ball was on the ground and we were taking it home, just like this game.”
Player of the game: Keishawn Watson, winning 75-yard TD run.
Wheaton Warrenville South — Jonathan Johnson, 24 carries, 130 yards, TD; Ben Flores, 2 FGs.
Naperville Central — Kevin Clifford, 17 carries, 108 yards, TD; Conor Joyce, 12-for-20 for 136 yards, TD.