Burlington Central tops Hampshire in OT
David McCoy had more than a game-winning field goal in overtime to worry about as he jogged on the field Friday night.
The Burlington Central junior also had a torrential downpour combined with swirling winds to think about as well as inch-deep mud on the Hampshire 10-yard line.
“I just tried to take a couple of deep breaths and calm myself,” McCoy said. “But props to Rocco (Boss) for a perfect snap and Ryan (Dubin) for a great hold. I hit (the kick) good, but it was a team effort.”
McCoy's 20-yard kick sailed through the deluge and split the uprights, and the Rockets defense came up with a stand on Hampshire's offensive possession when Ryder Bergemann recovered a Whip-Purs fumble, allowing Central to escape with an emotional 17-14 Fox Valley Conference triumph.
The victory also keeps Central (4-4, 4-4) in playoff contention as the Rockets host Huntley next Friday.
The game took several turns in the final minute of regulation as Central fumbled with 1:08 to play on its own 7. Hampshire was looking to secure the victory with a score in the final seconds, but it, too, fumbled and the Rockets recovered on their own 5.
In OT, BC ran three plays prior to McCoy's game-winner. Hampshire lost yardage on its first play and took a false start penalty. Facing a third-and-17, the Whip-Purs then fumbled with Bergemann landing on the loose ball.
“All the credit goes to my teammates and to coach (Nick) Scoliere,” Bergemann said. “He got us in the right spots to make the plays. I didn't see who caused the fumble, all I knew is I looked down and it was there at my feet. All I had to do was fall on it.”
Central opened the scoring with two quick first quarter touchdowns. Zack Samaan scored on a 3-yard run on the Rockets' first possession and Joey Kowall (12 carries, 53 yards) added a 24-yard TD scamper, giving Burlington a 14-0 lead less than nine minutes into the contest.
However, Hampshire's defense stood tall the remainder of the game, allowing only 70 total yards over the final three quarters. The Whips, meanwhile, got their running attack going as Cole Klawikowski rushed for 109 of his game-high 124 yards (on 32 carries) after halftime.
Klawikowski scored both TD for the hosts, one on a 20-yard screen pass from Luke Lacke (3 for 8, 50 yards) and the other on a 1-yard run with 9:52 to play that tied the contest and set the stage for the dramatic finish.
“I know I say this about our kids a lot, but it's true: they just never give up and they keep fighting until the bitter end,” Central coach Brian Iossi said. “David is just a junior, but I've always had confidence in my kickers. We could've tried to run it in, but I'll take my chances with our kickers every single time even in these conditions.
“And now we've got the chance to make the playoffs. We think we're a playoff team and we've always seemed to play Huntley pretty well. They're a great team but we'll need our best effort.”
Hampshire coach Shane Haak, whose team fell to 2-6, 2-6, said there was no real adjustments that allowed his offense to kick into high gear, just better attention to detail.
“We came off the ball collectively and consistently (in the second half) and with the right discipline,” he said. “Now, we need to get our players to do that for four quarters. We need to be a four-quarter football team and get all three phases working together.”