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Huntley's Tyler Vasconez tackled by Fenwick's Richie Lasek on Saturday. | Steve Johnston~For Sun-Times Media
Fenwick gave up a 7-6 lead on the last play of the first half in a Class 7A opening round playoff game Saturday when Huntley’s Kameron Sallee kicked a 26-yard field goal as time expired.
It fittingly earned its revenge.
Fenwick’s Zach Laszkiewicz connected on a 23-yard field goal on the game's final play, giving the Friars a thrilling 10-9 victory at Morton West in Berwyn.
"I'm always prepared,'' Laszkiewicz said. '' I saw both offenses were struggling so I was getting in the mindset that this game is going to come down to me. It was a great game. Both teams played really well.
''Our defense played outstanding and it was a great team win, that's for sure."
Fenwick (8-2) advances to play Rockford Boylan (10-0) in the second round.
"I was very concerned about Huntley,'' Fenwick coach Gene Nudo said. ''They have a potent offense, two big receivers, a good quarterback and our guys met the challenge. I'm thrilled with the win, but we have some work to do.
"We're facing a great Boylan team next week, two-time defending state champs. Zach has won two games for us at the end and he's proven to be a clutch kicker."
Fenwick took a 7-6 lead when Gino Cavalieri connected with Pat Hart on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 6:36 left in the second quarter.
In what turned out to be a defensive battle after the intermission, Huntley came close to finding the end zone on the opening possession of the third quarter.
Sallee connected with Jake Lackovic on a long pass play, but the ball was stripped near the end zone. Fenwick’s John Lattner pounced on the football for a touchback, thwarting the Red Raiders’ best scoring chance.
"Our defense was great and kept us in the entire game,'' Fenwick running back Robert Spillane said. ''We got the ball late in the fourth quarter with three minutes left and our lineman kept pushing and giving me holes. We left the game up to out kicker Zach and he put it in.
"We want to keep playing (in the playoffs). We're in it to win it. When all the Fenwick students stormed the field after the game, that was an awesome feeling."
Said Huntley coach John Hart: “I told the kids that it was going to come down to who made less mistakes. They had a couple of fumbles that we did not get, and we had a couple (of fumbles) that they did get.
“I really thought that we had some things to do to hurt them (in the second half). To their credit, they were really good up front on defense.”
Sallee completed 7-of-23 passes for 120 yards, while also rushing for 77 yards. Lackovic caught five passes for 104 yards.
The Red Raiders (6-4) took a 6-0 lead minutes into the game, after Josh Fish recovered a Fenwick fumble on the first offensive play of the game. Three plays later, Jake Scalise rumbled in for a four-yard score, but Sallee’s PAT kick sailed wide left.
It was the last series for Scalise, who left the game with an injury.
“It is a great group of kids,” Hart said. “We thought we had a good chance of winning in the second round, if we could get there. You just never know when you get in the playoffs.”
Contributing: Marty Farmer