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A game of inches

Bryce Stiff, Sports editor

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For a moment senior quarterback Kellyn Gerenstein was “ecstatic.”

“Every kid dreams of leading their team to the game winning touchdown during the playoffs. It didn’t seem real; unfortunately for us, it wasn’t real.”

You could feel the energy and emotion in Viking stadium when it appeared that senior wide receiver

Ryan Flournoy caught the ball that would give them the lead over Naperville Central with 2:04 left.

“It was hard to tell with headphones on and we were just trying to make sure the PAT team was on the field to kick the extra point, as well as telling the rest of the team we still had two minutes left,” Head Coach Craig Buzea said.

The season looked to have survived for another week against a tough opponent in Naperville Central, who had a lead the entire game.

However, the catch was soon negated by an illegal man downfield. An ineligible receiver downfield is a penalty that is called when a forward pass is thrown and an ineligible receiver, usually a lineman, is beyond the line of scrimmage without blocking an opponent at the time of the pass.

“We were disputing the call because we knew it was an incorrect call,” Buzea said.
This wasn’t the only missed call during the game. Naperville Central receiver Jayden Reed caught a pass (see above) that was ruled a touchdown although both feet were out of bounds. According to Buzea, the referee contacted him personally to address the misjudgements made.

After losing all momentum, the Vikings still managed to drive downfield all the way to the nine yard line.

With 42.6 seconds on the clock, Buzea went to a play that was a staple in everyday practice.

All-purpose senior back Justin Hall was supposed to take a direct snap while sophomore quarterback

Dominic Jones would come around and take a pitch from Hall on a reverse play and find a receiver in the end zone.

It didn’t go as planned as Naperville Central got gap pressure and was able to hit Jones before he released the football. The play resulted in an interception to win the game for Naperville

“We simply failed to execute on the offensive line and allowed their best defensive player to penetrate and disrupt our quarterback while trying to complete a pass,” Buzea said. “From our side, it was a lack of execution and from their side, one of their best players made a great play.”

After the game for one last time, captains Hall, Gerenstein, senior safety Marcell Ellis and senior linebacker Opeyemi Fatuki led the fight song for one last time as they now have the decision to carry on their career in college or go a different route.

NIU recruits Hall and senior lineman Jeffrey Griffin are already committed, along with senior linebacker Mario Wright, who is committed to Western Kentucky.

“H-F football has really helped my game grow,” Wright said. “Having coaches that really helped me grow as a young man and as a player is something that will surely allow me to stand out in the future.”

So far they are the only seniors committed, but Ellis and Gerenstein have offers as well. Both are excellent students and it’ll be a tough decision to pick either academics or football, they are both still contemplating their decision.

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A game of inches