MIKE NIETO: This was good until the very end

2013-10-18T23:00:00Z 2013-10-19T00:55:07Z MIKE NIETO: This was good until the very endMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
October 18, 2013 11:00 pm  • 

LANSING | It was a classic. It was close like you would expect a T.F. North-T.F. South game to be.

One point was the difference as T.F. South beat T.F. North 14-13 Friday night to keep possession of the coveted Mushroom-Wooden Shoe Trophy.

A PAT. One missed by North, and one made by South.

It also kept its playoff hopes alive, while North's postseason hopes were dashed. Two years ago, North won 16-14 in overtime on a broken play. That propelled it to the playoffs and crushed the Rebels season.

T.F. South has won 23 out of the last 25 in this heated series that has seen just about everything since the series started in 1959. It leads the series 38-19.

It was the Rebels' Torian Lewis who came up with an interception with 13.8 seconds left with North driving for the potential winning score. The Meteors looked as if they were about to take "The Shoe" up Burnham Avenue and back to Calumet City. Lewis had other intentions.

"I read the pass and just stepped in," said Lewis said of his game-ending pick. "Got to make big plays. We weren't about to end our season."

Both teams have had a hard time finishing games this year, but South was able to Friday night for District 215 bragging rights. Lewis ignited the Rebels with a 45-yard touchdown run with 11:26  left in the third quarter to put his team up 7-0.

There was South kicker Dan Stellfox, who made the game-winning PAT after Ka'Ton Mays caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Cody Petrich with 1:38 left. It was a long day for Stellfox, who earlier scored a goal for the Thornton Fractional boys soccer team in its 3-0 win over Richards.

"I just was blocking out everything and concentrating on my kick," Stellfox said. "We got a good snap,l good placement and the kick was there."

That was after a penalty had him kick from the 25. He rushed to South from North and changed in the car.

"My legs were a little tired, but I also guess my legs were warmed up," Stellfox said. "It was hectic, no doubt. I got there (to the football game) just before kickoff."

The second half had fans on their feet after a dismal first half. For two teams which had slim playoff hopes, neither looked too exciting in the first half. It seemed as if nobody could make that big play nor wanted to.

T.F. South (4-4, 2-3 South Suburban Blue) has a chance to make the postseason, but it must beat Lemont. The Indians remember how South went to their place and won by a point last year. The Rebels can't look ahead to the postseason until they take care of business.

Next week is a playoff game just like Friday was for the Rebels. They know what they have to do if they want to play in November. They can't celebrate this big win too much.

T.F. North (3-5, 2-3) has a tough Oak Forest team in Calumet City and the Meteors need to finish on a winning note. The disappointment of Friday's loss has to be forgotten.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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