The 2012 high school football season ended a little earlier than usual for our area teams. But from the opening week it seemed like every Friday night brought another memorable matchup.
Here are our Top 10 games from the 2012 season:
10. DeKalb 47, Yorkville 0 (Week 8)
DeKalb’s best game of the season. The Barbs scored a season-high in points as running back Dre Brown ran for 116 yards in the first half while quarterback Jack Sauter finished 12-for-14 passing for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He added a 70-yard touchdown run as well to help DeKalb get its lone Northern Illinois Big 12 East win of the year.
9. Sycamore 34, Geneseo 31 (Week 4)
Sycamore, then 3-0, made its longest road trip of the season to Geneseo in an NI Big 12 crossover matchup. The Spartans used a number of big offensive plays to put points up in a hurry.
On Sycamore’s second play from scrimmage, QB Devin Mottet found Ben Niemann for a 72-yard touchdown and Austin Culton ran for a 62-yard touchdown on the Spartans’ next possession. Niemann later returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown, and the Sycamore defense made a late stop to preserve the three-point win.
8. Sycamore 49, DeKalb 30 (Week 3)
The Spartans reaffirmed their dominance in the annual rivalry game against DeKalb. Sycamore went up, 35-0, early in the third quarter before the Barbs managed to put points up on the board. Mottet had one of his best games of the season, throwing for three touchdowns and running for another in the victory.
7. St. Edward 15, Genoa-Kingston 14 (Week 1)
The first of a trio of exciting Week 1 matchups. In its first game, G-K had no trouble gaining yards on the ground, but couldn’t hold on to the football as the Cogs lost three fumbles.
Sal Lopez ran for 131 yards and had both G-K touchdowns, but St. Edward kicked a 42-yard field goal with less than five minutes remaining, and the Cogs couldn’t get another score, losing their season opener.
6. Sycamore 19, Lincoln-Way West 13 (Week 1)
Both offenses struggled in the season’s opening game and a timely special teams play gave Sycamore its first win of the year. Josh Hunt picked up a a fumble by the Lincoln-Way West punter early in the fourth quarter and ran 35 yards for a touchdown. The Spartans defense stopped LWW on fourth down at the Sycamore 28-yard line to secure the win.
Mottet threw his first career touchdown pass in the second half, coming after his first-half Hail Mary – caught by David Scholz in the end zone – was nullified because of a holding penalty.
5. Kaneland 25, Chicago Brooks 24 (Week 1)
Not many gave Brooks a chance against Kaneland, a Class 5A state semifinalist in 2010 and 2011. The Knights also had beaten Brooks, 44-0, in Week 1 of the 2011 season.
But Kaneland found itself trailing, 24-6, in the third quarter before the Knights rallied. QB Drew David found Zach Martinelli for two touchdowns, including a 9-yard pass to put Kaneland ahead with 3:11 remaining in the game. The win gave Kaneland a 20-game regular-season winning streak.
4. Genoa-Kingston 24, Richmond-Burton 20 (Week 3)
The Cogs faced a tall task going on the road to R-B, the defending Class 4A state runner-up. G-K hadn’t won in Richmond since 1992 and was winless after the first two games of the season.
But G-K overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns from Lopez. His 1-yard run on fourth down gave the Cogs a 24-20 lead with 20 seconds remaining. Eli Thurlby also had an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
3. Hiawatha 14, Chicago Hope 13 (Week 2)
The Hawks entered their Week 2 matchup on a 13-game losing streak with their last victory coming in Week 6 of the 2010 season.
Hope got the initial score in the second quarter, converting a 51-yard touchdown pass off a fake punt. Hiawatha went ahead on a rushing touchdown and two-point conversion from Dakotah Quimby, but Hope responded with a touchdown of its own, taking a 13-8 lead into the fourth quarter.
Hiawatha senior kicker Marek Mlodzianowski, battling mono, kicked two 39-yard field goals in the final 10 minutes, including the game-winner with 57 seconds left to play, to give Hiawatha its first win of the season.
2. Kaneland 33, Morris 30 (Week 9)
Kaneland and Morris both were 8-0 heading into the final week of the regular season. The matchup would determine the NI Big 12 East champion and the winner likely would get a No. 1 seed in the IHSA state playoffs.
Both teams traded scores throughout most of the contest, but Kaneland was able to make the last big play. David, who was dealing with a hand injury, found Martinelli for a 5-yard touchdown with 27 seconds remaining to put Kaneland up by three and give the Knights their third consecutive undefeated regular season.
1. Montini 24, Sycamore 22 (Round 2 of Class 5A playoffs)
Montini, the three-time defending Class 5A state champion, had been Sycamore’s nemesis in the postseason, beating the Spartans three times in the past five seasons. The Spartans were a young team in 2012, but Montini appeared more vulnerable than in years past with two losses and a number of close wins in the regular season.
Defenses dominated a scoreless first half that included three Sycamore lost fumbles. Montini made a change at QB in the second half, but Sycamore responded to each Broncos scoring drive.
With the Spartans trailing, 21-14, with less than two minutes remaining, Mottet executed a flawless two-minute drill, driving Sycamore 80 yards in 1:25, and capped it with a 6-yard touchdown to Scholz. Culton just crossed the goal line on the two-point conversion to give Sycamore a 22-21 lead with 31 seconds remaining.
But Montini had one final answer. A good kick return set Montini up at midfield and, four plays later, the Broncos kicked a 34-yard field goal for an improbable win.