NEW CHICAGO | North Newton can say thanks to their special teams and defense for Friday's 30-24 Greater South Shore Conference comeback win over River Forest.
The Spartans took advantage, scoring two touchdowns on their special teams and defense, causing a fumble that turned the game around with less than one minute to go.
North Newton tied the game at 24-24 with 1:04 left to play after a pass interference call against River Forest gave the Spartans a 1st and 10 on the Ingots' 14. Jono Bigger threw a touchdown to Juston Grevers for the tying touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, AJ Mendoza caused Luis Cordero to fumble near the 15-yard line, and the Spartans recovered at the Ingots 10. Chad Schultz ran in for the go-ahead touchdown to give the Spartans the win.
“Mendoza is all heart. He’s a first-year player for us,” North Newton coach Patrick Brown said. “Then Chad put it in for the win.”
The Spartans (3-2, 2-1) were down 12-0 after the first quarter, but were able to score 17 unanswered points in the second, due to a Vince Duminie 85-yard kick-off return for a touchdown and a Schultz 84-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Spartans led 17-12 at the half.
“We had that nice kickoff return for a touchdown. That gave us spark,” Brown said. “It puts us back in the ballgame. And with the defensive touchdown, you can’t always count on those, but it was a big play for us.”
River Forest (3-2, 1-2) then scored two straight touchdowns. The Ingots regained the lead at 18-17 with 2:07 left in the third quarter after a John Flores 67-yard rushing touchdown. Luis Cordero returned a punt for 37 yards to put River Forest up 24-17 with 4:12 left to go in the game.
The Ingots had a chance to tie it at the end of the game, after Justin Pennington’s 35-yard pass to Malachi Sala put River Forest down to North Newton’s 24-yard line. The Ingots had a 4th-down try but were unable to convert.
Schultz had 98 yards rushing with two touchdowns, one on defense. Bigger was 4-for-9 passing for 42 yards and one touchdown.
Pennington was 4-for-12 for 86 yards, while John Flores ran for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns for R.F.