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Wide Right Miss Lets Sequoits Survive

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Joseph Whittall

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Another slow start by Antioch leads to a thrilling ending in the second round of the IHSA football playoffs.

The game started very much like the first time these two rivals, Antioch and Lakes Community High Schools, met. Lakes came out on fire, scoring a touchdown on their first possession before most of the fans had settled down into their seats.

Unlike last game, however, it didn’t take as long for the Sequoits to strike back, as sophomore quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis found senior receiver Zachary Grindley for a touchdown. At the end of the first quarter, the game was all knotted up at seven points apiece.

“We didn’t come out strong,” Grindley said.  “We let Lakes stay in the game with us.”

After a fumble by Lakes early into the second quarter, the Sequoits looked to do some damage and grab the lead. Their hopes were dashed after Lakes sacked A. Kaliakmanis in the end zone, resulting in a safety and two more points for Lakes.

The safety gave the Eagles momentum and they scored a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half, making the score 16-7 Lakes as the two teams headed off into the locker rooms.

The Sequoit offense continued to be lackluster in the second half, as the Eagles intercepted a pass by A. Kaliakmanis early in the third frame. However, just like the previous game, the defense bailed out the Sequoits.

“The defense did great,” senior lineman Dylan Czerlanis said. “Especially because they shut out Lakes in the second half.”

As the third quarter drew to a close, the sleeping giant that is the Sequoit offense began to wake up. They were charging down the field, making their way inside the ten, before senior kicker Sebastian Scofield kicked a field goal, drawing the score to 16-10, Lakes.

After a Lakes punt gave the Sequoits the ball back, senior running back Nicholas Wiley rushed his way into the end zone and allowed Antioch to take the lead over their crosstown rivals for the first time this game.

“There was definite room for improvement throughout the game on both sides of the ball,” senior captain and defensive linemen Chase Becker said. “I think our heart and tenacity throughout the game was our strong point.”

The defense continued to hold strong as the final frame progressed, forcing another Lakes punt. With less than four minutes remaining, and the powerhouse Sequoits offense in control of the ball, one would be mistaken to believe this game was a done deal.

On a rush by A. Kaliakmanis with around three minutes remaining, an Eagles defender jostled the ball loose and Lakes recovered the ensuing fumble.

For Antioch, the perfect season now looked in jeopardy. For Lakes, the fire of revenge reignited in their eyes.

Momentum yet again swung in favor of the Eagles. They charged down the field. Play after play, the Sequoits looked like they were fighting an uphill battle. This culminated in the Eagles having the ball on the ten-yard line, the clock stopped, with 2.3 seconds remaining.

The game, both the seasons of Antioch and Lakes and bragging rights of District 117 all fell onto the foot of the Lakes kicker, but head coach Brian Glashagel had one more trick up his sleeve, the time-out.

After using his last two timeouts to attempt to ice the Lakes kicker, all everyone could do was watch. Both fan sections were yelling as much as they could, hoping to turn the tides in the favor of their team.

The holder gave the signal, the long snapper snapped the ball, the holder placed the ball as the kicker began to move towards it and everyone held their breath as the ball flew into the air after it was kicked. Then the Sequoits went ecstatic as the Eagles fell silent, the kick had missed wide right.

The Sequoits yet again prevailed over their rival, this time with a score that was much closer.

“We kept our heads and hearts in the game,” Grindley said. “We kept pushing through everything that went wrong.”

The Sequoits yet again survived another slow start by the offense as the defense clamped down and shutout Lakes in the second half again.

For Lakes, their season came to an end at the hands of their rival. For Antioch, this win advanced them to the quarterfinals of the IHSA 6A football playoffs, where they will play Norte Dame Niles on Saturday, November 10, at 4:00 p.m. For both these teams, however, two words will stick in their minds long past the end of IHSA playoffs, through the winter, spring, summer and into next year’s football season, wide right.

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Wide Right Miss Lets Sequoits Survive