Lincoln-Way North 22, Lincoln-Way Central 21
THE SKINNY: In a bizarre ending, Lincoln-Way North (6-0, 4-0 in the SouthWest Suburban Red) missed an extra-point try, then was credited with a safety on a bad snap late in the fourth quarter to beat upset-minded Lincoln-Way Central (2-4, 1-3) and reach the state playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
TURNING POINT: Lincoln-Way Central led 21-7 and had the ball late in the third quarter. Lincoln-Way North defensive back Nick Bucci intercepted a pass and returned it to the Knights 41-yard line to set up a touchdown.
THE STARS: Bucci intercepted two passes, one setting up a touchdown late in the third quarter and the other ending the final drive of the evening for Lincoln-Way Central during the final two minutes. Lincoln-Way Central’s Bryce Gorman ran for a pair of touchdowns.
BY THE NUMBERS: Lincoln-Way North running back Julian Hylton had 34 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns. The University of Illinois recruit came into the game averaging 231 yards per game. He now has rushed for more than 3,500 yards during his career.
QUOTABLE: “It was getting late in the game, we were down big and I knew we needed a momentum-changer.” — Bucci, on his third-quarter interception that turned the tide.