Late score pushes Thornton past T.F. South

SHARE Late score pushes Thornton past T.F. South

Thornton’s offense saved its best for last in a 23-21 road win over T.F. South Friday night in the opening round of the Class 7A state playoffs.

With 8:46 left in the fourth quarter, T.F. South quarterback Peyton Padjen ran in a quarterback sneak to give his team their first lead of the night, 21-17 over Thornton.

The Wildcats didn’t get down. Instead, they followed with easily their best drive of the night.

They marched 64 yards on eight plays, ending with a 4-yard keeper by JoWahn Brown. The score gave the Wildcats the lead back, and they never surrendered it.

“We have grown up with this group since they were sophomores,” Thornton coach Bill Mosel said. “You go through some growing pains but this is what we eventually strive for.”

With the win the Wildcats (8-2) will host Downers Grove North next Saturday. The Rebels (7-3) end a rebound season after missing the state playoffs in 2011 for the second time in 14 years.

The Rebels had two drives to score after Brown’s game-winner. The first drive ended at the Wildcats 35 on a fourth-and-11 on an incomplete pass by Padjen directed at Drakkar Frazier. The timing pass to the sideline was thrown just out of his reach and out of bounds.

The second drive that started with 51.1 seconds left never produced a first down after Padjen rotated with junior Danny Janowski after getting crushed on an incomplete pass by a pair of Wildcat lineman. He had to leave the game after the trainers attended to him but eventually came back for one last play, which was intercepted by Jason Towns – his second of the game.

“We’ve wanted a home playoff game this whole year and we’re getting one,” said Brown, who finished 10-of16 for 124 yards and a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jauan Wesley.

Brown scored on a 6-yard run in the first quarter to give his team a 7-0 lead. Wildcats kicker Saul Ramirez connected on a 27-yard field goal to end the first half and send them into the locker room with a 17-7 lead.

Jamal Brown didn’t figure in the scoring, but did most of the dirty work, finishing with 158 yards on 27 carries. Saleem Sanford had an interception for the Rebels while 6-foot-2, 290-pound Jerome Jenkins had a pair of sacks for the Wildcats.

“Our kids played our hearts out and that’s all I can ask for,” T.F. South coach Tom Padjen said.

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