Hoffman Estates wins 45-44 thriller over Conant

As fall officially arrives, so does the 53rd season of Mid-Suburban League divisional play.

Among the trio of Friday's MSL West slate was the 48th annual Hoffman Estates Mayor's Cup clash between the two secondary institutions of learning separated by only a 3 mile drive down Higgins Road, Conant and Hoffman Estates high schools.

As the visiting Cougars made that trek they sought to continue their best start in three years as it went undefeated through its first four games having scored over 40 points in its past three victories over Wheeling, Glenbrook North, and Vernon Hills.

It would encounter a host Hoffman squad which had evened their record at 2-2 after sweeping their two crossover contests with Central Suburban League members Maine West and Maine East having scored a combined 116 points in those two wins.

Thanks to their ability to withstand blow after blow that Conant threw at them, Hoffman Estates would rally from a 10-point deficit in the final 10 minutes to beat the visitors from the Eastside of Hoffman Estates 45-44 on Manny Correa's 28 yard field goal with no time remaining at Garber Stadium.

Correa had a 35-yard attempt blocked in the third quarter.

"My mindset was that I missed that field goal (attempt), I couldn't do anything about it," the Hawk junior said. "And (to) move on to the next play. It didn't matter really. I just had to do my job."

Hoffman (3-2, 1-0) began their comeback after Caden Ryan's 32-yard field goal gave the Cougars (4-1, 0-1) a 38-28 advantage with 9:56 left.

It commenced in their next possession when Aiden Cyr (12-21 passing for 193 yards) found Stephon Sellers on a 77-yard bomb that pulled them within 38-35 on their next play from scrimmage.

Then on their next possession another Cyr to Sellers air connection (11 yards) set up junior RB Quincy Williams (25 carries, 215 yards) to find the end zone five plays later on a 2-yard jaunt for his third TD of the game and Hoffman's first lead at 42-38 with 6:07 left.

Conant responded with a 13-play, 77-yard drive that regained the lead for them on a 29-yard scoring run by QB Matt Maize breaking a couple of tackles along the way making it 44-42 with 55 seconds left.

Unfortunately for the Cougars the ensuing PAT try was blocked setting the stage for the Hawks' last-minute heroics as a 35-yard kickoff return by Sellers set them up at their own 42. After a 16-yard keeper by Cyr and a 17-yard completion to Brett Phillips, Hoffman gained new life thanks to a pair of penalties on the Cougars, a 15-yard defensive pass interference call and a 5-yard illegal procedure penalty that was called prior to Correa's first game-winning attempt that set him up for his successful second try.

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