Stevenson Dodges 'Cats

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 13, 2007 | Go to article overview

Stevenson Dodges 'Cats


Byline: Patricia Babcock McGraw

pbabcock@@dailyherald.com

Wide right felt oh-so-right for Stevenson.

The Patriots' sideline erupted with joy and relief Friday night when Libertyville kicker Alvaro Castro just missed on a 40-yard field goal with 43 seconds left to play.

A make would have tied the game and likely sent it into overtime.

And a make seemed likely.

After all, Castro has been on fire lately. Last week, he nailed a school-record 47-yard field goal. It was his seventh field goal of the season - also a record.

But Castro's misfire preserved a 24-21 Stevenson victory in a game that both North Suburban Conference perennial powers desperately needed to win as the playoffs draw near.

"That was pretty nerve-wracking," Stevenson wide receiver Michael Bilton said of watching Castro's kick. "But now, we're feeling great."

The host Patriots improve to 5-3 and likely qualified themselves for the playoffs for the 19th year in a row.

If they get a win next week in their finale against Warren, they'll notch the minimum 6 wins for an automatic playoff berth. But even if they don't, they now have enough wins to qualify on playoff points, which they should have plenty of.

Libertyville, meanwhile, drops to 4-4 overall. A loss to Lake Forest next week will disqualify the Wildcats from the playoffs for the first time since 1996. A win should get them in with enough playoffs points.

"It's do or die now - one game," Libertyville coach Randy Kuceyeski said. "I've got confidence we're going to come back and do it. I really do.

"You saw (the character) right there in the fourth quarter. They do have it within themselves to do it."

The Wildcats definitely showed some resilience late in the game. They were down 24-14 with 7:11 remaining after Stevenson linebacker Austin Self recovered a Libertyville fumble and the Patriots marched into the end zone four plays later. …

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