Football: Plainfield South rallies for 41-34 overtime win over Plainfield North
By Dick Goss email@example.com September 14, 2013 12:14AM
Plainfield North's quarterback Dilibe Ekowa (6) hands off against Plainfield South during the first quarter at South Friday, September 13, 2013. | Raymundo Luna/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 16, 2013 10:03AM
When the little man, Chris Dunning, blew through the Plainfield South line and raced 43 yards to pay dirt early in the third quarter, visiting Plainfield North extended its lead to 34-7 in Friday night’s Southwest Prairie opener for both teams.
This one was over.
Or so it seemed.
In one of the wildest comebacks of this or any other season, the Cougars got off the deck. Their defense suddenly became a stone wall and their offense, which showed no consistency for 21/2 quarters, became a well-oiled machine.
South scored once in the third quarter and three times in the fourth to tie it at 34, then won 41-34 in overtime on Josh Harris’ short scoring run.
After Harris scored, North got its shot. But on fourth-and-5, Zach Tuzak’s second interception ended it.
“We brought the juice,” South linebacker Mason Matesevic said, explaining the turnaround. “We were flat in the first half, made some changes at halftime and executed those changes.”
Dunning is a 5-foot-4, 125-pound junior. He rushed 27 times for 131 yards, but late in the game began to see too much of touted South linebacker Clifton Garrett, who time and again filled a hole and blasted the back.
“I thought Garrett’s presence in the second half was critical to our defensive turnaround,” South coach Ken Bublitz said.
Robert Baker, who is 5-5, 165, chipped in with 85 yards in 16 carries for North (1-2, 0-1). But he played little and did not carry in the second half, when he was nursing an injury.
Dunning and Baker shouldered the load after regular tailback Quintin Hoosman left early with a side injury.
For much of the night, it didn’t matter.
However, after North went up 34-7, South quarterback Kody Voda came alive. He hit Anthony Woods four times in a 75-yard scoring drive, including a 25-yard TD strike to make it 34-14.
The Cougars (2-1, 1-0) punted two more times and still trailed by three scores when they regained possession at their 46 with 10:35 left.
From there, South drove 54 yards to score, forced a North punt, and drove 56 yards to score and make it 34-27.
The Tigers then had to punt again, and Woods returned it 23 yards to the North 17. Voda and Harris combined to get the ball in the end zone with 1:42 left, and Matt Imburgia’s kick tied it with 1:42 left.
“Never in my life have I been in a comeback like this,” said Harris, who rushed for 98 yards and caught five passes for 70. “Even when we were behind, I looked in my team’s eyes and I could see we weren’t going to quit.”
Harris stopped himself and added, “Before anything else, I have to give a shout out to our quarterback, No. 7 (Voda). He gave us the legs we needed.”
“I have never been involved in a comeback that big,” said an exhausted Voda, who completed 19-of-30 passes for 189 yards and rushed for a net of 25 yards, many of which were crucial.
“This was something for the record books. And, I never beat North until this.”
As elated as the South camp was, the loss was equally deflating for North. Last week, the Tigers led Pekin 20-0 in the third quarter and lost 21-20.
“Our second tough one in a row,” North coach Tim Kane said. “We made mistakes you can’t make, and we had injuries on the offensive side that hurt us. What we do now will be a test of our character.”