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Brother Rice's William Hogan (9) can't overcome the defending of Simeon's Kalynn Johnson (23) to catch the 2-point extra attempt toe tie the game during the Prep Bowl at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. on Thursday, November 22, 2012. | Jon Durr~ For Sun-Ti
The Simeon football trophy case is filled with runner-up Prep Bowl trophies. That case will look a whole lot better now that the Wolverines have gained a championship trophy to store in it. Simeon won its first prep bowl championship Friday at Soldier Field with a 14-12 overtime victory against Brother Rice.
Quarterback Elcee Burke, who struggled most of the game, scored the go-ahead in overtime on a one-yard quarterback dive. Darnell Cockrell added a two-point conversion run to give the Wolverines a 14-6 lead.
Brother Rice matched the touchdown on a five-yard quarterback draw by Matt Page. But the Crusaders’ two-point conversion pass was batted away by Kalynn Johnson, and the Simeon faithful emptied the sidelines.
“I was struggling with the [windy] conditions, but my teammates kept telling me to hang in there because they had my back,” Burke said. “Being a senior, I didn’t want to be the one that caused us not to win the game and I’m glad we got it done.”
The Crusaders scored first on a 16-yard swing pass from Page to Marcus Jones with four seconds remaining in the first half, but the PAT attempt was blocked by Devante Lee.
The Wolverines got on the board when Kendall Moore recovered a Burke fumble in the end zone for a touchdown with 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
“That may have been the biggest play of my high school career — to get my first career touchdown, in the prep bowl, and help my team win the game,’’ Moore said.
Johnson, Lee and Moore weren't the Wolverines' only standouts Friday. Jabaree Winston, who was named the game’s MVP, snagged three interceptions.
“I just read the quarterback, stayed disciplined, and made the plays,” Winston said. “We knew it was going to be a defensive game today. The offense was struggling a little, but it was a team effort.
‘‘We knew that they were going to make some big plays. We just had to hold it down.”
Simeon coach Dante Culbreath said his team showed a lot of character and poise. “There was no panic on our side at all,” Culbreath said. “That’s why we play the schedule that we play to have us prepared for these types of games. This victory is for all the coaches and players who ever played at Simeon and especially for the man who started it all, coach Al Scott.”
Brother Rice coach Brian Badke acknowledged that the Simeon defensive pressure was the key to the game. “You have to credit Simeon a lot for the way we played. They were big and athletic, and they gave us a lot of problems, especially defensively. They made it very difficult for us to really move the ball,” Badke said.
Running back Marcus Jones echoes his coach’s sentiments. “Their defense was great. They have two of the best linebackers in the country. Their linemen kept slanting or stunting into the gaps, and we couldn’t move the ball.”