McHENRY – McHenry junior quarterback Mike Briscoe and the Warriors didn't worry as they watched Woodstock North tie the game late in the fourth quarter.
On fourth and 16 with less than five minutes remaining, Woodstock North quarterback Jimmy Krenger eluded a sack and scrambled to find Grant Wade for a game-tying 40-yard touchdown to erase what was once a 14-point fourth quarter deficit.
It set the stage for Briscoe, who didn't waver in the moment. Briscoe orchestrated a four-play, 79-yard drive and connected with senior Payton Lykins for a 66-yard touchdown with 2:59 left for the lead. McHenry's defense came through against the Thunder, sacking Krenger on the final three plays – two by junior Steven Touhy – to give McHenry the 35-28 Fox Valley Conference crossover win.
"That's what you live for when you play football," Briscoe said. "We have great receivers and running backs and the line really tops it off with how hard they work every week."
The Warriors (2-1) finished with 331 rushing yards (479 total offensive yards) and that production opened up the game-winning touchdown pass. Lykins said he saw Woodstock North's safety move up on the playaction sweep and the hesitation was all the speedy wing back needed.
"I just knew I had to get passed [the safety] and I knew Mike would put the ball in the right spot and we executed that play really well," Lykins said.
McHenry’s effective ground game allowed them to run twice as many plays as Woodstock North in the first half. However ill-timed fumbles prevented McHenry from taking a commanding lead. The Warriors lost two fumbles in the redzone during the first half.
But Woodstock North (0-3) couldn’t capitalize on the turnovers as the Thunder had their own problems holding onto the football. After McHenry fumbled on a bad snap on a punt attempt in its own territory, Thunder junior Jeremy Haymond pounced on the loose ball – one of two fumble recoveries he had in the game – and Woodstock North took over at McHenry’s 6-yard line trailing by 13 points.
However, the Thunder fumbled on the first play, though Krenger recovered the ball to retain possession for a 9-yard loss. Woodstock North couldn’t recover the lost momentum and with the offense stalled as a 32-yard field goal attempt missed.
"It's never one play," Thunder coach Jeff Schroeder said. "It's an accumulation of a few plays. ... We just can't have those mistakes."