Stevenson tops Libertyville in high-scoring battle

Both teams had a lot to play for when Libertyville met visiting Stevenson Friday night in the final North Suburban Conference football game of the regular season.

In the end, it was a 38-yard touchdown pass from Aidan Crawley to Zachary Becker with only 54 seconds to play that helped Stevenson pull off an exciting 35-28 victory over the Wildcats (5-4, 3-4).

Now Stevenson (7-2, 5-2) has a chance to host a first-round playoff game next week while Libertyville will hope to earn an at-large bid when the IHSA announces the playoff pairings on Saturday night.

A 58-yard scoring pass from Crawley (8 of 10, 246 yards) to Armand Burris gave the Patriots a 28-21 lead in the wild contest after the Wildcats had forced a 21-21 deadlock on a 7-yard touchdown run by Gavin Dixon late in the third quarter.

Libertyville's Stevan Gavric caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Quinn Schambow (16 of 30, 245 yards) to tie the score at 28-28 as there were three scores in a span of just 2:18 late in the third quarter. Stevenson missed a 35-yard field goal wide left with 4:23 remaining. But the Pats' defense forced a three and out on Libertyville's next possession to set the stage for the late-game heroics on offense. Stevenson's Kendrick Kenning also had a huge 32-yard reception during the winning drive just before Becker's game-winning touchdown.

"That's a great win for our program, and we hope to get a home game in the playoffs," said Stevenson coach Brent Becker. "I'm just really excited about how our kids are playing right now, our goal is to try to get better every week, and they just ripped off five in a row."

The contest was a wild one from the get go as Stevenson's Christopher Thorndyke went 98 yards on the opening kickoff for a 7-0 lead just 19 seconds into the contest.

The Pats went up 14-0 when sophomore Frank Costabile (176 yards on 22 carries) scored on a 32-yard TD run. Sam Seth caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from Schambow to cut the gap to 14-7 before Crawley's 1-yard keeper boosted the lead to 21-7. Gavric's 2-yard catch cut the deficit to 21-14 at halftime.

Thorndyke had 36 yards on 8 rushes while Dixon had 29 yards on 7 attempts.

"Playing against our rivals, we beat them on their home field, and it just feels amazing," Costabile said. "We are so confident right now. It doesn't matter what team is out there we are going to make a statement and we are going to destroy them."

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