It didn't look pretty early on for the Schaumburg Saxons.
For nearly three quarters Friday night against the Conant Cougars, the Saxons looked like a shell of a team that had gone toe-to-toe with, and had held double-digit leads against, perennial MSL West powers Hoffman Estates and Palatine the past two weeks.
But somehow, some way, the resilient squad erased a late two-touchdown deficit to walk away with a 24-21 overtime victory in Hoffman Estates, ruining the Cougars' homecoming party.
"Our core, keystone value is grit," said Saxons coach Mark Stilling." "When things are not going the way you had envisioned, you either need to find resolve or resign and we talk about that all the time."
Despite an unrelenting downpour that gained steam as the first half wore on, Conant seemed unfazed by the elements. It took them just two plays and 45 seconds to get on the board.
Jack Reiger got things going on the first play from scrimmage on a 57-yard run, taking it down to the Saxon 10...
In last year's meeting between Conant and Bartlett, the teams combined to score a total of six points as the Bears edged the Cougars, 6-0, while holding the Conant offense to zero yards through the air.
The narrow defeat would prove to be the closest the Cougars would come to tasting a victory all season long as it suffered the school's first winless season (0-9) since 1975, averaging an anemic 7.7 points per game on offense. On a positive note, the team's 1976 edition rebounded to finish a respectable 4-5 the following year.
But hope springs eternal in Cougar Country as the program is optimistic that the arrival of new head coach, Bryan Stortz, will lead Conant back to playoff contention - a place they had been to four of the previous six seasons. Stortz takes over for the retired Bill Modelski and brings an impressive combined record of 96-34 with Lake Zurich from 2006-2011 and most recently, Rock Island from 2012-2...