AURORA – Prairie Ridge lamented its missed first-half opportunities before sitting through an almost two-hour lightning delay Friday night, then made a second 50-mile trip to Waubonsie Valley within a 20-hour span.
It was all worth it when Warriors quarterback Jack Drow's pass to receiver Julian Cain hit the soggy grass Saturday afternoon on a two-point conversion attempt that could have produced overtime.
All that was left was Wolves receiver Keegan Garis falling on the ensuing onside kick, and Prairie Ridge had a 21-19 nonconference football victory over Waubonsie Valley. With mainly parents in the stands, and no student section, the players huddled up and sang the school fight song by themselves to celebrate reaching 6-1.
The kickoff time was pushed ahead from 7 to 6 p.m. Friday to try to beat impending storms, but the Wolves were caught in traffic and kickoff ended up at around 6:30. The game was stopped with 9:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, with Prairie Ridge leading, 14-13.
“I’m much happier with the way we finished than the way we started,” Wolves coach Chris Schremp said. “I felt yesterday, never being here with our team, the schedule change and a young team, we didn’t handle things well in the first half. Most games it’s how you finish and I was really proud with how we finished today.”
Fullback Jackson Willis (33 carries, 217 yards) broke through the line on thrid-and-4 for a 49-yard touchdown with 4:27 remaining. The Warriors (5-2) came back and moved to the Wolves’ 1, but were stopped twice before running back Bryce Logan scored on fourth-and-goal.
Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy called timeout to discuss the Warriors’ plan for a 2-point conversion. Drow attempted a fade route to Cain, but linebacker Carter Evans had enough position on Cain to force him close to the sideline.
“You have to throw that (touchdown) play out,” Wolves defensive end Brett Nygren said. “The best play’s the next play. We had to shut them down. It was awesome. We really came out the second day to play.”
Evans said he was positioned to stop a slant pattern.
“I saw him go for the fade and turned and ran,” said Evans, who slipped and fell just before the ball arrived. “I tried to break it up. He had both feet out (of bounds)."
The Wolves' defense forced a three-and-out on the first possession Saturday, then Willis got loose for the deciding touchdown.
“We lost to a good team," Murphy said. "Prairie Ridge is two-time (Class 6A) state champs for a reason, they run their offense as good as anybody I’ve seen.”
It was the second consecutive impressive performance for the Wolves’ defense.
“It was our mojo, our mindset,” Nygren said. “We got it back. We lost it during the Dundee-Crown game (a 70-55 win in Week 4) and it took some time, but we’re back on the same page with each other.”