BLOOMINGDALE -- Trailing by 14 after three quarters of its Bill George Youth Football League season opener at Bloomingdale, South Elgin Patriots Gold 83 scored twice in the game's final six minutes to force overtime and eventually earn a hard-fought tie on Sunday.
The Patriots used a pair of fourth quarter turnovers -- a Brett Phillips interception and a Ryne Campana fumble recovery after a Zachary Meade hit jarred the ball loose -- to set up a nine-yard touchdown reception by Joey Kidd and a 15-yard scoring run by Aydn Avina.
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Avina's touchdown came with 1:35 to play in the game to cut the Bears lead to 14-12, leaving the Patriots with no choice but to run a pass play on the point-after attempt. Campana tossed a short dump pass to Kidd for the two points to tie the game.
The Patriots and Bears exchanged touchdowns in overtime, with Avina giving South Elgin its first lead of the game when he scampered six yards for his second score of the day. Bloomingdale answered with a touchdown of its own and then punched in the extra point attempt with a quarterback keeper up the middle to end the game at 21-21.
"Our boys showed no quit today. We've practiced hard for weeks so we can finish strong. It showed here," said Patriots 83 Gold Coach Regan Earl. "Personally, I couldn't be prouder. I know the other coaches feel the same way."
Patriots 83 Gold team is new to South Elgin having joined the program after formal practices began in July, but the 16-member squad played together in 2013 and the core of the team has been together for at least two seasons.
"We are proud to be Patriots and look forward to representing South Elgin this season," Earl added.
The 2014 South Elgin Patriots are: Andrew Alvarado, Carlos Avila, Aydn Avina, Alex Calo, Ryne Campana, Ricky Delgado, Nick Durante, Elijah Earl, Giovanny Garcia, Isaiah Gomez, Taro Ishikawa, Joey Kidd, Zachary Meade, Miller Meinicke, Brett Phillips and Oscar Villalpando.
The Patriots (0-0-1) play their home opener against the Bartlett Raiders on Sunday, Sept. 7 at Sperry Field, 800 Michigan Ave. in South Elgin.