Been there and done that … just a week ago, in fact.
In Week 2 of the high school football season, Zion-Benton pulled out a 14-12 win over host Waukegan when quarterback Doug Gates hooked up with speedy wideout Jonathan Roberts for a touchdown with less than four minutes to go in the game.
Friday night — same time, different place — Gates and Roberts did it again. The duo teamed up for a 76-yard touchdown pass with less than four minutes to play to give the visiting Zee-Bees a 20-14 victory over Mundelein in the North Suburban Conference Lake Division opener for both teams.
The win moved Zion to 2-1 on the season heading into next Friday’s game at Round Lake. It also kept the Bees playoff viable. Mundelein is now 0-3, though it’s improving every time out.
For three quarters Friday, Mundelein played well enough to win, leading 14-6 on first-half touchdowns by running back Robert Hamilton (four-yard run) and Colten Fisher (QB sneak).
The defense then protected the 14-6 lead until almost the end.
With 7:38 to play, Gates scrambled for a 26-yard TD to cap a 69-yard drive. But, the two-point PAT attempt failed, leaving Zion still two points short at 14-12.
Four minutes later, Gates and Roberts performed their magic again, this time on a 3rd-and-9 play from the 24. Gates ran in the two-point conversion to complete the scoring.
“It was a clutch moment like last week,” said Roberts, a track star in the sprints. “Doug threw a great ball, and I was able to beat the defender.”
Gates said he had plenty of time on the game-winning throw. “The offensive line gave me time to throw, and Jonathan went up and got the ball,” he said. “It was a big play for us and a win we needed.”
Zion’s trademark so far under first-year coach Bob Moynihan is to play hard, but commit tons of penalties.
“The guys are starting to come together,” Moynihan said. “We still have to clean up some mistakes, but I was proud of the way they battled all game. They never gave up.”
By the numbers, Zion’s Gates ran 14 times for 53 yards, and was 5-of-10 passing for 97 yards. Marcese Gonzales ran 10 times for 90 yards, and Eshaunte Williams had 11 carries and gained 56 yards. Zion finished with 296 yards but was penalized a dozen times for 95 yards.
For Mundelein, Fisher carried 20 times for 68 yards. The only pass he threw was on fourth down at the end of the game, and it was not completed. He dropped back to pass three other times, but wound up scrambling or was sacked. Hamilton carried 11 times for 67 yards, and Jake Gokan carried seven times for 46 yards. Mundelein finished with 216 total yards.
“I was really happy with the offense in the first half,” said Mundelein coach George Kaider whose team scored on its first two possessions. “Colten Fisher ran the offense perfectly. The second half, we did a nice job, but we just couldn’t finish drives. One play cost us the game tonight.”