Brother Rice’s flashy offense had been subdued. The Crusaders’ home crowd had been shocked by a 59-yard touchdown pass from Matt Sommerdyke to Reece Young with 46 seconds left.
Everything seemed to be going Wheaton Warrenville South’s way. The Tigers went for the two-point conversion and the win in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs on Saturday.
Khary Shaw stepped into the spotlight and saved Brother Rice’s season. Sommerdyke scrambled and found a receiver in the end zone. At what was likely the last possible moment, Shaw broke up the play and the Crusaders beat the Tigers 27-26.
“I thought I was late. I thought I wasn’t going to make the play,” Shaw said. “I’m happy I played the hands. Coach always tells me to play the hands. I just trusted playing the hands and we won the game. The defense really showed something tonight. I’m praising God that I made that play.”
Wow and wow. Wheaton Warrenville South scores on a 59-yard TD pass with :46 left. Brings it to 27-26. They go for two and the lead and this is the result: pic.twitter.com/jju0rKLBZG— Michael O'Brien (@michaelsobrien) October 31, 2021
Brother Rice quarterback Jack Lausch scored on a 14-yard run with 1:21 left to put the No. 3 Crusaders (8-2) ahead. Lausch and the offense struggled for most of the game. Brother Rice had scored at least 40 points in every game this season.
“That was a great game,” Lausch said. “They were a really tough team. I’m proud of the way we fought and dealt with adversity.”
Lausch was 13 for 26 for 170 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He was dominant on the ground though, with 16 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns.
“We just didn’t execute very well,” Lausch said. “It happens and we will learn from it.”
Wheaton Warrenville South (5-5) opened the game with a spark. Young returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. The Tigers took a 14-6 lead on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Sommerdyke to Brandon Bell with 4:30 left in the second quarter.
Most of the players on the field were in their first playoff game. Lausch and Shaw were two players that had postseason experience two years ago.
“It’s different when it is all on the line,” Shaw said. “It’s kill or be killed.”
Brother Rice running back Aaron Vaughn had 18 carries for 93 yards and caught a 20-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
“That’s a good football team, we knew that coming in,” Brother Rice coach Brian Badke said. “They play in a great conference and had some injuries throughout the year. We didn’t play our best but to come out with a victory shows the resilience of our kids. I’m really proud of them.”
Sommerdyke was 18-for-30 for 253 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He played a smart game and even made the right decision on that two-point conversion at the end.
“Sometimes you just come up one play short,” Sommerdyke said. “No one in the state thought we were going to come out here and compete to the wire. I think we proved how good the DuKane conference really is.”