Sixteen seconds of game time and a few fortunate bounces were all Sycamore needed Saturday to turn a tight scoreline against Lincoln-Way West into a comfortable lead in the Spartans’ 34-21 win.
With 8:23 left in the game, quarterback Devin Mottet dropped a snap, but the ball took a friendly bounce and he scooped it up and ran five yards into the end zone to give Sycamore a 28-14 lead.
“The ball fumbles and he goes in on a third-down play when we’re thinking, ‘Well, we may have to go for a field goal here,’ ” Ryan said.
On the first play of the Warriors’ next drive, a pass bounced off of a receiver’s hands and straight to linebacker Logan Schneider, who sprinted 45 yards into the end zone.
“He threw it to their end, and it just bounced off his hands so I just took off and ran,” Schneider said. “As soon as I grabbed it, I was like 30 yards away, but I’ve been known to be pretty fast, so I screamed and I just took off.”
Those two plays secured a win that could be a sign of big things to come for Sycamore, who came into the game ranked No. 5 in Class 5A.
“I feel really confident,” Mottet said. “Something special’s happening right now, but we’ve still got to keep working every week.”
DeKalb’s running attack: Even if you didn’t stick around late enough to see DeKalb defeat Vernon Hills on Friday, the effects of its new offensive system are showcased in the box score.
DeKalb ran the ball 49 times in the triple option compared to only nine passing attempts. The Barbs racked up almost 300 rushing yards between running backs Eriq Torrey and Dre Brown and quarterback Jack Sauter.
While DeKalb started its game close to 9:30 p.m. Friday night, Hiawatha had its game against Mooseheart moved to Saturday because of consistent lightning strikes in the area.
The coaches and athletic directors decided it was in the best interests of everyone to postpone the game until Saturday if the teams weren’t able to start by 9 p.m. Hiawatha senior quarterback Mike Mercado may have said it best during the delay.
“I’d rather play [Saturday],” he said, “than get struck by lightning.”
• Anthony Zilis contributed to this report.
VIEWS: Local teams overcome postponements, weather delays
Weather delays are terrible.
There is not one good thing that comes from having a 7 p.m. start kick off late or a Friday night game getting changed to Saturday.
OK, fine, the concession stand probably makes a little bit more money for the school while everyone is cramped underneath the stadium bleachers. I personally indulged in an extra tray of nachos at Mooseheart.
But that's it. Everything else is bad. The waiting, the rescheduling, the transportation issues, the potential field conflicts with other sports. It's not fun for anyone.
Especially not the players.
Even at the high school level, football players develop a pre-game routine. Their meals, music playlists, warm-ups and last-minute preparation are all based on a timetable that ends with an on-time kickoff. There is no built-in buffer time for standing around and waiting.
Yet despite everything that happened Friday night, DeKalb and Sycamore overcame Mother Nature, sometimes a team's toughest opponent, to record impressive victories in Week 1.
When Sycamore's game against Lincoln-Way West was postponed until Saturday, the Spartans faced the prospect of making the three-hour roundtrip bus ride to New Lenox on back-to-back days. Yet Sycamore pulled through for a 34-21 win over the 10th-ranked team in Class 5A.
DeKalb was already tasked with the challenge of playing its opening week game on the road with a new offensive system that takes time, and game experience, to master. A delay of more than 90 minutes and a start time after 9 p.m. didn't help the matter. Even after yielding a 10-0 lead to Vernon Hills, DeKalb rallied for a late win.
You learn the most about teams in how they react immediately after bad or unexpected things happen.
While it wasn't a 4th-and-18 late in the game or a double-digit deficit at halftime, Sycamore and DeKalb dealt with the weather as best they could and came away with the result every teams hopes for after the first weekend of football: a 1-0 record.
Sycamore and DeKalb didn't let the weather delays affect them in a negative way. And it could be a sign of good things to come for both teams.
As long as Mother Nature lets them play.
• Ross Jacobson is the sports editor of the Daily Chronicle. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNDER THE RADAR
Eriq Torrey, DeKalb, junior running back
Torrey, one of DeKalb's many running threats, amassed 86 rushing yards on just seven carries, including a 65-yard run that set up an eventual touchdown in DeKalb's win over Vernon Hills.
STATS OF THE WEEK
100 – Rushing yards on 23 carries for Sycamore quarterback Devin Mottet, who recorded his first career 100-yard rushing game.
49 – Number of rushing attempts for DeKalb in the Barbs' 25-10 victory over Vernon Hills.
1. Sycamore (1-0) – A convincing win on the road against a top 10 opponent moves the Spartans to the top in our power rankings.
2. Kaneland (1-0) – Kaneland had little trouble with Chicago Brooks, a welcome sight after the Knights had trouble with Brooks in Week 1 of the 2012 season.
3. DeKalb (1-0) – Barbs win coach Matt Weckler's debut and take the first step toward the playoffs.
4. Genoa-Kingston (0-1) – Big plays hurt Genoa-Kingston on the road, but quarterback Griffin McNeal showed progress.
5. Hiawatha (0-1) – Hawks were overmatched against Mooseheart, one of the better teams in the Northeastern Athletic Conference.