FOOTBALL: Peotone falls to Lisle in final minutes
Special to the Daily Journal
PEOTONE — Despite scoring 33 points, it wasn’t enough as Peotone lost a 34-33 barn burner to Lisle in the Interstate 8 small dual.
The Lions came to town roaring after breaking Wilmington’s 10-year, 52-game Interstate 8 small conference winning streak one week ago.
Peotone set the tone early, taking their first possession of the game 66 yards on seven plays, capped by a 2-yard Ryan Brewer touchdown.
The Blue Devils’ offense dominated the time of possession early, limiting Lisle to just four plays in the first quarter.
Defensively, the Blue Devils started out strong, forcing a three and out.
However, on the ensuing Peotone possession, quarterback Max Gessewein threw a play-action interception to Lisle’s Demetrius Kelly, which flipped the game’s momentum.
Right away Lisle showed their big play ability, scoring on a 70-yard Dylan Laue sweep the next play, tying the game with just less than six minutes left in the first quarter.
Peotone went back to their bread and butter running attack the next drive, carving out a six-minute drive that resulted in a 2-yard Nathan Battiato score.
The Lions answered with a seven-play, 68-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 1-yard Michael Walker touchdown with 8:26 remaining in the first half.
Gesswein hit Hunter Brunke on a fade route for a 26-yard touchdown to give the Blue Devils a 20-14 lead with 1:30 left in the half.
Lisle’s Kelly wasted no time getting his team the lead back, taking the kickoff back 86 yards for the touchdown.
Instead of running out the last minute of clock in the first half, Peotone managed to put together another scoring drive with Brewer scoring his second touchdown of the game with just eight seconds left in the half, giving the Blue Devils a 27-20 halftime lead.
Peotone dominated the time of possession in the first half 17:03 to 6:57.
Lisle opened the second half with a monster eight-play, 63-yard drive that resulted in a 4-yard Laue touchdown.
The Blue Devils offense sputtered and got stopped on fourth down their opening possession before settling down on defense and forcing a three-and-out the next drive.
The offense started wearing out Lisle up front by stretching out a nine-minute drive into the fourth quarter.
Gesswein finished off the drive with a 2-yard quarterback sneak to give his team the 33-27 lead with 7:24 remaining in the game.
Lisle quarterback Jay McGrath wasted no time leading this team down the field to take the lead back. McGrath threw for 63 yards on the drive including a 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick Martich to give the Lions a 34-33 lead with 4:38 on the clock.
Peotone gave one last defensive stand and forced a punt and got the ball back with over 2 minutes left.
However, a few plays later Gesswein threw an interception to Kelly, sealing the win for Lisle.
“When you’re not aggressive on defense, a team like this will pick you apart,” Peotone coach Tolly Tsiamas said. “We did not play the way we have the last 2 1/2 years on defense.”
Brewer led Peotone with 142 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns. Battiato rushed for 48 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.
Brendan Bias added 51 on the ground. Gesswein finished 9-of-16 passing for 74 yards with a passing and rushing touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Blue Devils head to Jeff Reents Stadium to take on the Wilmington Wildcats on Friday in Interstate 8 action.
“We’ve got to go to Wilmington and get a win. It’s that simple,” Tsiamas said. “It’s as close to a must win as we have right now.”