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 Bronco scoring drive. With the Spartans trailing, 21-14, with less than two minutes remaining, quarterback Devin Mottet executed a flawless two-minute drill, driving Sycamore 80 yards in 1:25, and capped it with a 6-yard touchdown to Davey Scholz. Austin 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.
More than 30 minutes before the game started, everyone could tell this was going to be something more than just another nonconference regular-season game. The Hinckley-Big Rock gym sold out as the administration had to turn people away who wanted to see two great small-school teams. The two schools also happened to be involved in a little bit of controversy surrounding the eligibility of three Mooseheart players. Mooseheart’s South Sudanese players were allowed to play and the game more than lived up to its billing. Mooseheart led by as many as 10 in the fourth quarter, but the Royals rallied with a 13-0 run to end the game. Jared Madden had 14 of his 22 points down the stretch and the Royals made an early-season statement.
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. Drew David, who was dealing with a hand injury, found Zach 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.
The Barbs faced a three-run deficit against the Huskies heading to the bottom of the fourth inning, but DeKalb tied the game on a Sabrina Killeen two-run double.
The Barbs would win the game via walk-off fashion in the seventh, with Haley Tadd driving in Morgan Newport for the game-winning run and sending DeKalb to its second sectional title game in three seasons.
Drew David missed the first meeting between the two teams, but certainly made his impact felt in the second matchup. Sycamore led for most of the second half, but didn’t make a field goal in the final four minutes. Still the Spartans held a two-point lead in the final 30 seconds as Kaneland called a timeout with possession.
The play was designed for Matt Limbrunner inside, but with the Spartans denying the post, David took a pass near the top of the arc, pump-faked past a defender and drained a 3-pointer as time expired for the win.
St. Francis and Sycamore were locked in a pitcher's duel for six innings as neither team's offense could break through.
Sycamore junior Cole Nelson was in rhythm, but an error and a single led to an unearned run in the top of the seventh. The Spartans loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half, but couldn't come up with the clutch hit in a 1-0 loss, denying Sycamore its first-ever sectional title.
After splitting two regular-season meetings with the Royals (including the game pictured in Shabbona), Indian Creek looked poised to end H-BR’s streak of regional championships. The Timberwolves held a seven-point lead in the third quarter, but couldn’t hold on. Trailing by one, H-BR’s Bridgette Edmeier was fouled on a jumpshot and made one of two free throws to force overtime.
Lauren Paver made H-BR’s only field goal in overtime, but the Royals’ pressure defense was too much for Indian Creek as H-BR won its seventh consecutive regional title.
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.
The Royals went down 1-0 in the first half, but quickly responded with goals from Zach Michels and Bernie Conley to take a 2-1 halftime lead.
Alton Marquette scored three consecutive goals after halftime and H-BR couldn't quite close the deficit, getting a goal from Billy Weissinger late in the second half.
Alton Marquette would go on to win the state title and the Royals won the third-place game the following day for the best finish in program history.
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 Sal 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.