For the fourth consecutive year, the Mayor's Cup is staying put with the Hoffman Estates football team. This season, it’s thanks in part to some late-game heroics by senior Cameron Kindred.
In a matchup of two 6-2 squads, the Hawks ended a two-game losing streak, and spoiled Conant's senior night in the process, with a 29-27 road victory in the inter-city battle.
"This win was big," said Kindred. "We knew coming in that we were a better team than we had showed the last couple weeks."
Coming into the contest, Hoffman Estates had lost to Barrington (41-15) and Fremd (31-9) in back-to-back weeks, allowing 671 yards on the ground. They appeared to be a shell of a team that had begun the 2018 campaign at 6-0.
However, Kindred made sure a third consecutive loss was not in the cards in a matter of seconds.
With his team trailing 20-16 late in the fourth quarter and the Hawks facing a 2nd-and-15 at the Cougars 39-yard line, Kindred snagged a perfect pass by senior quarterback Kyle Krogstad in the middle of the field. From there he took it the distance to give the visitors a 22-20 lead with 2:21 to remaining in the game.
Following a botched snap that would have given Hoffman a three-point advantage, the Cougars had a nice return on the ensuing kickoff to its own 40-yard line. A penalty on Conant negated the play, and the Cougars began tbeir drive from the 24 instead.
One play later, Kindred, now playing on defense, jarred the ball loose on a run by Conant quarterback Kevin Polaski that the Hawks Bryan Smith recovered at the Cougar 37 with 1:58 left.
"Big time players make big time plays," said Hawks head coach Tim Heyse. "He definitely made two plays right there in that span."
Hoffman padded its lead on a Max Lock 28-yard TD run to make it 29-20 with 1:37 to go in regulation.
Conant made it interesting down the stretch when Polaski scored from 11 yards out with 39 seconds to go to cut the deficit to 2. However, the Cougars onsides kick attempt was recovered by the Hawks Jordan Lane to seal the victory, and helped Hoffman capture the Mayor's Cup.
"Before the game, we had all the old alumni calling us and telling us to bring home the Mayor's Cup," said Kindred. "Guys like Eric Saubert called and had a video for us that was amazing … we couldn't let them down."
Quite a gutsy performance for a Hawks team that persevered through 20 penalties for what seemed like a gazillion yards on the night.
"We never make it easy on ourselves," said Heyse. "But we kept fighting for four quarters and were able to grind it out and make just enough plays to get the win today."