[Matthew Apgar / Daily Chronicle]
4. DeKalb hosts IHSA State Football Championships for third time, with five games decided by a single score
The third installment of the the state finals in DeKalb was loaded with insanely close contests – one went overtime, six of the games were within one score in the final four minutes, and seven of the games were within one score in the second half.
Things started off furious in the 1A game, with Tuscola driving down to the Lena-Winslow 29-yard line in the final seconds, but failing to score in a 21-20 loss. In the 2A game, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley took a 38-32 lead with 1:08 left, and the Maroa-Forsyth drive couldn’t get started in the GCMS win on a game they trailed by nine in the second half.
The 3A game was a 35-0 win by IC Catholic Prep, although it led, 6-0, until the 5:19 mark of the third quarter. In the 4A game, Rochester hit a 24-yard field goal as time expired for a 24-21 win after Morris tied the game with 4:02 left. Phillips dominated the 5A game, 33-7, over Dunlap, but it was still notable as it was the second win in three years for Phillips after it became the first CPS program with a football title in DeKalb in 2015.
The 6A game was arguably the best of the day – even without going into overtime like the 7A game. Prairie Ridge took a 28-21 lead with 1:01 left in the game, but Nazareth began a frantic last-minute drive, reaching the Wolves’ 13 but getting intercepted in the end zone as time expired.
In the 7A game, Batavia defeated Lake Zurich, 21-14, in overtime. Lake Zurich had a chance to take the lead in the fourth but missed a field goal, while the ensuing Batavia drive ran out of time. Batavia scored in the top of the overtime, then held on Lake Zurich’s possession.
In the 8A game, Lincoln-Way East scored 10 points in the final 5:11 to comeback for a 23-14 win against Loyola.
The state championships are scheduled to return to DeKalb in 2019 and 2021 before the current contract expires.