O'Shea's Big Day Not Enough To Save Palatine
Let these numbers marinate for a second: 19 receptions, 281 yards, 5 touchdowns
Those would be pretty good stats for a high school wide receiver over the course of a season, let alone a single game.
But on Saturday night in Palatine, Pirates senior wide receiver Johnny O'Shea did just that in a second round 8A playoff game against the Edwardsville Tigers.
"He's a unique kid," said Pirates head coach Corey Olson. "A once in a lifetime player that you may get to coach."
Despite all the lofty numbers, O'Shea's performance still wasn't enough to help the Pirates advance to the quarterfinals, as the Tigers won a high-scoring affair, 38-35.
"Number 80 is a heck of a player isn't he?" Edwardsville head coach Matt Martin said. "You know the fade is coming and we still couldn't stop it."
With the Pirates trailing 7-0 with 2:03 left in the first quarter, O'Shea registered the first of his record-breaking five touchdowns on the afternoon, scoring from 16 yards out on a great pass from quarterback D.J. Angelaccio to tie the game at 7-7.
The Tigers, winners of 7 straight games coming in, regained the lead early in the second quarter on an Antonio Thigpen 4-yard TD run to put the visitors up 14-7 at the 10:02 mark.
It took the Pirates just over a minute to counter with Angelaccio (359 yards, 5 TDs) hooking up with O'Shea, who had a distinct size advantage over his defender, on a 33-yard pitch-and-catch to knot the game at 14-14 with 8:59 to go in the half.
"We knew they had a big defensive front," said O'Shea. "So we knew we'd have to win this game through the air."
The tie would be short-lived when on the next play from scrimmage, Tigers signal caller Kendall Abdur-Rahman slashed his way through the Pirates defense and galloped 64-yards to the house to put Edwardsville up 21-14.Rahman added a 5-yard TD run with just 1:00 left in the half to give the Tigers a 28-14 lead.
O'Shea was just getting warmed up.
The Pirates received the second-half kickoff and starting on their own 15, promptly marched down the field to the Edwardsville 19 and then Angelaccio hit O'Shea again to cut the Tigers lead to 28-21 with 6:57 left in the third.
After a quick 3-and-out buoyed by a Bryant Smith sack, the Pirates got the ball a little over a minute later, putting the pigskin in the palms of Angelaccio to work his magic with O'Shea, finding him for a 22-yard score with 2:12 left in the 3rd. The PAT was blocked by Tigers cornerback Jalen Cooper to leave Edwardsville clinging to a 28-27 edge.
"It just shows what type of team we are," said O'Shea. "We never give up, we're all about giving it our all out there on the field."
Midway through the fourth, the Tigers pushed their lead to 35-27 when Dionte Rodgers chugged into the end zone for a 5-yard TD with 6:26 left in the contest, leaving more than enough time for Angelaccio and O'Shea to hook up one final time.
It took the Pirates under two minutes to even the game at 35-all when Angelaccio hit O'Shea for his fifth TD from 26 yards out with 4:45 to go and also added the two-point conversion.
And to think, O'Shea hasn't had a Division 1 scholarship offer yet.
"For all the schools that are overlooking this kid, that's fine," said Olson. "He's going to go somewhere and be a great football player, they need to wake up."
After a good return by the Tigers into Pirates territory, Edwardsville salted away the clock and got to the Palatine 15 before bringing out kicker Devin Parker, who calmly nailed the eventual 32-yard game-winning field goal with just 48 seconds left.
The Pirates managed to get to the Tigers 48, but Angelaccio's desperation heave fell incomplete, ending an impressive season for Palatine whose four losses this season were by a combined 15 points.
"The kids fought hard tonight, it's a tough way to end it, but I'm really proud of my seniors tonight and I'll miss them," said Olson.
The Pirates set a staggering eight 8A playoff records on offense for the day- records that may stand for a very long time.