Aurora Central's rally falls short at Johnsburg

That hug session went on a full half-hour. It was time to say so long to football season for the Chargers of Aurora Central Catholic.

The visitors in this Class 4A playoff game in Johnsburg need not feel badly about the 42-39 loss to the once-beaten Skyhawks.

Aurora Central Catholic (6-4) gave Johnsburg all it could handle and took a late 39-35 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Chargers surrendered not one but two kickoff returns for touchdowns and gave up a three-touchdown performance by Johnsburg star Alex Peete (24 carries, 219 yards). However the guests gave the Skyhawks a big scare based on the left-handed throwing arm of senior Matt Rahn.

A year ago, he lost his season due to an ACL surgery. In the second half of this thriller, Rahn ran for two touchdowns and threw for another one.

"It was a fun game,'' Rahn said. "We were in a spot to win. Their turnovers kept us in the game. We could have lied down but we decided to fight instead."

Johnsburg (9-1) looked to be in control early as it scored twice in the opening quarter. Momentum played a part in the exciting second quarter. After Rahn (34 for 39, 276 yards) connected with Brandon Babler on a 27-yard touchdown pass, Peete returned the favor on the ensuing kickoff with an 89-yard touchdown for a 21-6 Johnsburg lead.

Rahn and Babler didn't blink and this time it was a 32-yard scoring play again to Babler. The Skyhawks went to halftime up 21-12.

Johnsburg used the big play to seemingly put this game away. Peete broke one from 93 yards out to give Johnsburg a 28-12 lead.

Aurora Central had taken a blow before halftime when Babler suffered an ankle injury. Rahn went back to the air to move the team forward. He scored from 2 yards out and a two-point conversion pulled his team within 28-20.

Again, the special teams played a big part in this game. Johnsburg sophomore, Blake Lemcke, took another kickoff back for a score, this time from 85 yards out.

Trailing 35-20 entering the fourth quarter, Rahn brought his team back with three scores in a four-minute span. His last TD run from three yards out brought the Chargers all the way back to lead 39-35.

"We showed how special this team is in the second half,'' said ACC coach Brian Casey. "Sure I would like to take some things back but we played well."

Johnsburg answered the late Chargers rally with a 59-yard scoring drive that took just three plays. Peete again did the honors with a 26-yard touchdown run.

"I was able to play with my best friends,'' Rahn said. "I played with these guys since freshman season and back to middle school."

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