Two costly turnovers and over 100 yards in penalties turned what could have been an opening season win into a heartbreaking loss as Hinsdale Central edged St. Charles North 27-26 in overtime.
Senior quarterback Collin Peterson reflected back on his first varsity start and found a silver lining.
"We have a lot we can do to get better," Peterson said. "Penalties killed us, but we'll work on those things in practice and get them corrected."
The North Stars scored first on an eight play drive that began on their own 31-yard line when Peterson hit Zachary Kirby from 5 yards out. The Red Devils couldn't get much offense going in their first two possessions, but a 55-yard punt by Alex Georgelos early in the second quarter pinned the North Stars back on their own 1-yard line. On third down and 7 yards to go, the shotgun snap was bobbled and recovered by Hinsdale's Jake Alleman in the endzone to tie the game at 7-7.
The Red Devils forced the North Stars to punt on their next possession and Hinsdale quarterback Danny Callahan and Ryan Kelleher hooked up for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 5:52 left in the second quarter to give the Red Devils a 13-7 lead. However, their lead would only last 14 seconds, as junior Ben Kaplan returned the ensuing kickoff back 89 yards to put the North Stars back in front 14-13.
After a scoreless third quarter, the North Stars took a 20-13 lead early in the fourth quarter when Peterson hit Kaplan on a slant pass from 13 yards out, but Hinsdale tied the score 20-20 on a 5-yard keeper by junior quarterback Brian Owens with just under 7 minutes left to play in regulation.
The North Stars appeared ready to celebrate a hard-fought victory with 11 seconds remaining in the game as they moved the ball to the Red Devil 11-yard line, but Peterson's pass was deflected and subsequently intercepted by Brad Anlauf to force the game into overtime.
The Red Devils and North Stars each had four chances from the 10-yard line. The Red Devils scored first on a 4-yard keeper by Owens, but the North Stars answered with a 1-yard plunge by junior George Edlund. Trailing by one point and having lost their starting kicker to an injury earlier in the game, North Star's head coach Mark Gould opted for a 2-point conversion to win the game in front of the home crowd. When Peterson dropped back to pass, all four receivers were covered, but he saw an opening to his right and took off for the endzone. The Red Devils defenders closed the hole quickly and stopped Peterson at the 2-yard line to end the game.
"They're a good team," Peterson said. "No one was open, so I just tried to take it and try to do what I could. I thought they had a better chance of deflecting the ball, so I just decided to go for it and see what I could do. We fought hard the whole game, but they're just one heckuva team."
Gould indicated afterwards that the decision to go for two was pretty much decided on after they lost starting kicker Michael Schroeder to a second quarter injury.
"(Losing the kicker) definitely led to that decision," Gould said. "We came out at halftime and the coaches decided we're going for two no matter what on everything. We talk to the kids all the time that mistakes lose first games. Unfortunately, there's no preseason in high school football."