By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The Greenfield-Northwestern football Tigers made some costly mistakes that nearly doomed them in the second round of the Illinois High School Association Class 1A playoffs Nov. 4. Key word: Nearly.
Senior power back Kohen Vetter gave away two rare fumbles, but head coach Joe Pembrook still felt confident putting the football in his hands on a ‘do or die’ play in which the Tigers needed three yards to save their season on home soil down six points against Casey-Westfield.
With 1.4 seconds remaining on the clock, Vetter battled his way through a powerful defensive front and over the goal stripe to tie the score. Dylan Pembrook then fooled the opposing Pirates with a perfectly-executed quarterback keeper out of the shotgun formation, completing a dramatic comeback from 14-0 down and putting the Tigers ahead, 16-14, on perhaps the loudest two-point conversion in the history of Fluer De Lis Field.
The GF-NW special teams’ defense immediately halted a desparation lateral on the ensuing kickoff to seal the victory and advance the Tigers to the IHSA Class 1A state quarterfinals. Ashton Preusen made the final tackle which punched Greenfield’s ticket to Sesser.
A giant mob consisting of players, coaches, students and fans congregated in the middle of the field to celebrate the unbeaten Tigers’ 11th consecutive win following the postgame handshakes.
The upcoming IHSA quarterfinal, which features two 11-0 heavyweights, will kick off at 2:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 11.
Should they advance past Sesser, the Tigers will meet either Belleville Althoff Catholic or a familiar foe in Camp Point Central for a championship berth. Camp Point Central defeated GF-NW in last year’s quarterfinal.
IHSA CLASS 1A
Lena (L.-Winslow) 46, Forreston 14
Kewanee (Wethersfield)13, Morrison 6
Oneida 36, Toulon (Stark County) 8
Chicago Hope 37, Aurora (Christian) 29
Camp Point (Central) 32, Calhoun 14
Belleville (Althoff Catholic) 56, LeRoy 20
Sesser 32, Catlin (Salt Fork) 8
GF-NW 16, Casey (Westfield) 14
IHSA CLASS 1A
#4 Kewanee (Wethersfield) (10-1) at #1 Lena (L.-Winslow) (11-0)
#3 Chicago Hope (10-1) at #10 Oneida (9-2)
#4 Belleville (Althoff Catholic) (10-1) at #1 Camp Point (Central) (11-0)
#3 GF-NW (11-0) at #2 Sesser (11-0)