Greenville's record comeback defies belief

News-DemocratNovember 18, 2013 

His team was trailing Mt. Carmel 70-49 in the Class 3A quarterfinals Saturday with 4 minutes, 23 seconds remaining, but Greenville Comets coach Todd Hutchinson wasn't worried.

"We thought 'We get the ball, let's score and see what happens,''' said Hutchinson, whose team ran 128 plays in the game. "I said to make sure we have a 2-point play ready. We got through our drive, we scored and it got crazy from there."

Crazy might be too mild of an adjective for the Comets' unbelievable comeback that resulted in a 71-70 victory on the road over the Golden Aces.

"To score three times in 2 minutes and 13 seconds was pretty amazing," Hutchinson said. "Everything that happened kind of just fell into place and enabled us to find a way at the end to get a win."

The victory put Greenville (12-0) in the semifinals for the fifth time in seven years. The Comets will host St. Joseph-Ogden (10-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

On top of scoring three TDs in the span of 2 minutes, 13 seconds, the Comets also had to recover two onside kicks.

Running back Eric Turok began the last-ditch comeback with a 4-yard TD run with 2:13 left. After Greenville recovered an onside kick, the Comets scored again on a double-pass from quarterback Tyler Hutchinson to Austin Lawrence to Daulton Young that covered 48 yards.

It took just 10 seconds to score those two TDs.

Jacob Hall's extra-point cut Mt. Carmel's lead to 70-63 and the Comets recovered another onside kick that bounced off a Mt. Carmel player.

Turok capped an 11-play drive when he scored from one yard out with 20 seconds remaining. Tyler Hutchinson hit Lawrence with the two-point conversion pass for the win.

"It's a play we run every day in practice, just like every team does," Coach Hutchinson said of his son's winning conversion toss on a comeback pattern. "There's four options there. It was a tight throw, it was a tough throw and a great throw and Austin Lawrence made a great catch."

Video game statistics

Greenville quarterback Tyler Hutchinson completed 43 of 87 passes for 645 yards and six TDs, also throwing three interceptions.

Hutchinson's completions, attempts and yardage are all new playoff records, according to the Illinois High School Association.

Lawrence had 13 catches for 209 yards and two TDs, while Young hauled in 13 catches for 276 yards and four TDs. Turok ran for 195 yards and three TDs on 17 carries.

Young's 276 yards receiving and four receiving TDs both rank second all-time in the IHSA playoffs.

Greenville set an all-time playoff record with 896 yards of total offense, including 696 yards passing and 200 yards rushing.

Greenville's 71 points set a new 3A playoff record and was the fourth-highest total in Illinois playoff history. Joliet Catholic holds the record with 76 points in 2004.

The 141 points scored by both teams also broke the state playoff record; the previous combined high was 133 in 2008 in Huntley's 70-63 win over Batavia.

Mt. Carmel had 756 yards of offense, including 510 yards passing and 246 yards rushing.

The 1,652 yards of combined offense by Greenville and Mt. Carmel also set a new state record, easily surpassing the former record of 1,207 yards by Kaneland and North Chicago in 2006.

Mt. Carmel quarterback Reece Metcalf was 22-for-36 for 516 yards and tossed seven TD passes. His top receiver was Levi Lewis, with seven catches for 188 yards and two TDs. Lewis also had a running touchdown and returned an interception 94 yards for another TD.

Scoring points in bunches is nothing new for Greenville, which averages 49.6 points. The Comets hit the 63-point mark twice this season and have scored at least 41 in 10 of their 11 games.

"Last year we were down 20-plus to Carterville with nine minutes left and came back and beat them," Coach Hutchinson said of Greenville's 49-38 3A quarterfinal victory in 2012. "We've been in some wild games, but honestly never a 71-70 game -- and it's so much more fun to be on the other side of that."

Asked about his favorite memory from Saturday, Hutchinson focused on the one with his team surrounding him on the field after the game.

"In the huddle after that game, just looking into our guys' eyes and seeing the excitement, seeing them realize that if you continue to believe and work hard good things can happen....that was special," Hutchinson said.

Flyers and Tigers at home

The Southwestern Conference is well represented in the semifinals with Edwardsville (12-0) and East St. Louis (9-3) both getting 3 p.m. home games Saturday.

Edwardsville plays host to Chicago Mt. Carmel (11-1) in Class 7A, while East St. Louis is hosting Oak Lawn Richards in 6A.

Richards' playoff journey includes a 44-0 win over Yorkville, 31-0 over Argo and 12-7 overtime victory against Lincoln-Way North on Saturday.

The Flyers beat Richards 38-6 in a 1979 second-round game on the way to winning the 5A state championship.

Edwardsville lost 27-7 to Mt. Carmel in the 2005 7A semifinals.

Mt. Carmel reached the semifinals this year with a 49-6 win over Benet Academy, 20-15 over St. Rita and 7-0 over Downers Grove North.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or on Twitter @NormSanders

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