CALUMET CITY | T.F. North’s special teams came out on fire Friday night and never let up, leading the way to a 41-40 win over Lemont.
The Meteors started strong taking the opening kickoff and driving more than 60 yards for the game’s first score when Aaron Dunnigan found Nikita Smith for a 20-yard touchdown.
No one could have predicted what happened next as the Meteors forced a pair of fumbles on the next two kickoffs and turned them into touchdowns to grab a 21-point lead before Lemont’s offense even took the field.
On the Meteors (3-4, 2-2 South Suburban Blue) second possession, Dunnigan hit Smith for a 34-yard score to make it 14-0 about three minutes into the game.
Anthony Watkins joined the party with an 11-yard touchdown run less than two minutes later after another Indians fumble.
“It felt great to get off to a fast start,” Dunnigan said. “It really takes the pressure off the defense when you can give them a big lead like that in the first quarter.”
Lemont (3-4, 2-2 South Suburban Blue) got on the board midway through the second quarter when Julio Aleman took the ball in from the three-yard line, but Watkins made sure their celebration didn’t last long taking the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for his second touchdown of the night.
After another Aleman score cut the lead to 27-13, Watkins lined up deep again and made the Indians pay for kicking it to him. He took the ball 78 yards to the 11-yard line.
“After the first return, I didn’t think they’d kick to me, but when they did I wanted to show them that they made a mistake,” Watkins said.
After a scoreless third quarter, Watkins scored his third touchdown of the game taking a screen pass from Dunningan eight yards to put the Meteors up 41-20 with 9:49 left to play.
Trailing by 21, the Indians finally got on track scoring a pair of touchdowns to cut the lead to 41-34 and setting the stage for an amazing finish.
T.F. North looked to have the game won after stopping a Lemont drive at their own 28 with less than three minutes to play. But the team couldn’t get a first down to seal the win and was forced to punt with a minute and a half left in the game.
Lemont drove 45 yards, and a Ryan Dawson quarterback sneak cut the lead to 41-40 with 13.5 seconds left to play.
Instead of going for the tie, the Indians decided to try to ride the momentum and get the win on the road.
But the Meteor defense rose to the occasion and forced an incomplete pass to end the game and a keep their playoff hopes alive.