A game between the top two offensive teams in the Southwest Prairie Conference came down to a defensive stand Friday in Oswego.
Oswego kept Plainfield North out of the end zone as time expired to post a 35-28 win that clinched its fourth straight league title and 27th consecutive conference victory, dating back to the start of the 2011 season.
“That’s what you get when Oswego and Plainfield North play,” Panthers coach Brian Cooney said. “We knew going in it was going to be a tough game and it was.”
For the second straight week, the Panthers (7-1, 6-0) clinched the victory late in the fourth quarter.
“This was the second week in a row it came down to the last drive of the game,” Cooney said. “Last week, it was our offense, and this week, it came down to our defense. I don’t like the way we’re winning, but we’re winning.”
With Oswego leading 35-28 and driving for a clinching score, Treshon Weddington (26 carries, 174 yards) was tackled by Max Anderson short of a first down at the Plainfield North 6.
The Tigers (5-3, 4-2) then drove 89 yards on 12 plays to the Oswego 5-yard line with 1.6 seconds left to play.
An incomplete pass in the end zone ended the final regular-season home game for Oswego.
The win marked the return of quarterback Steven Frank, who was sidelined since Week 3 with a foot injury. He completed 8 of 19 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns.
“Our offense finally started to click in the second quarter, then out defense kept us going at the end,” Frank said.
The teams combined for four TDs during a 2-minute, 16-second span in the second quarter.
After Plainfield North’s Quintin Hoosman (46-yard run) and Oswego’s Connor Cavins (4-yard run) traded first-quarter touchdowns, the game was tied at 7-all late in the second quarter.
That’s when the offensive fireworks began.
Hoosman rumbled 30 yards for a TD, giving the Tigers a 14-7 lead with 4:28 left in the first half. Steven Frank hit Jose Wagner (72 yards) and Zach West (73 yards) for long TD passes, sandwiching a 29-yard TD run by Hoosman in forging a 21-all tie at the half.
A 2-yard run by Vargas and a 7-yard pass play from Frank to West gave the Panthers a 35-21 lead heading into the fourth. A 66-yard TD pass from J.D. Ekowa to Zach Jarosz cut the lead to 35-28 midway through the fourth.
“Everyone is happy we accomplished (winning the league championship) again,” Frank said. “Now, we have to beat Plainfield South next week to finish off the season.”