Last Friday, October 14, the Wolves brought home their second crosstown win in 18 years. After being down 14-0 in the first quarter, the Wolves came back and won 35-21 to guarantee a spot in the playoffs.
After two back to back losses, the Wolves needed just one win to guarantee a spot in the playoffs. Knowing the circumstances, the Wolves players understood the importance of this game.
“We’ve been preparing mentally, for the past week, no, the whole season for this game. Now it’s really come down to being the most important game of our season.” Senior cornerback Matthias Anisiobi said.
The Panthers receive the ball to start the game, and after bringing the ball up the field, they punch it in halfway through the first to go up 7-0.
After the score during the kickoff, an attempted squib kick bounced off of senior Juny Almeida’s calf and the Panthers were able to retain possession of the ball. The Panthers were able to capitalize on that mistake by scoring a touchdown after just two plays.
After not touching the field for nearly 10 minutes, the Wolves offense cut down the lead from 14 to 7 with a breakout run from Tre Jones with one minute left in the first.
Panthers get the ball back to start off the second, and after a few plays, senior defensive back Mike Polubinski picks off the opposing quarterback.
“We just had to fix the mistakes and once we got that down early the rest was smooth sailing,” Polubinski said.
After trading possessions, Jones was able to break out for yet another big run and was able to even the score going into the half.
Going into the second half, head coach Tyson Leblanc told his team, “Stay on course and keep doing what we do. We just need to continue running the football.”
To kickoff the second half, the Wolves receive the ball and piece together a near 9 minute drive that ends with a touchdown from senior running back Oshobi Odior to put them up 21-14. Odior had been out since week 1 before recording his first touchdown of the season. “I’ve prepared myself for war. I knew this game was not going to be easy.” Odior said.
After trading possessions once more, the Wolves get the ball to start off the fourth quarter, and Jones is able to find his way to the endzone to give the Wolves a 14 point lead.
The Panthers attempted to take the ball up the field, but the Wolves defense stopped them with 7 minutes left in the quarter; and the first play back in possession, Jones scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the game, recording 255 yards to put the Wolves up 3 scores.
“Hats off to our offensive line for being able to open up those big gaps for me and Oshobi to get through. Big bodies like that blocking for you, good things will happen,” Jones said.
After 35 unanswered points, the Panthers were able to score one more time late in the fourth, but in the end, the Wolves were able to walk away with their second crosstown challenge trophy in 18 years.
“We needed to bring our dog out for this game,” Senior defensive end Aurian Chapmon said. “Once we got rid of those mental mistakes, we all had faith in eachother.”
With this crosstown win being only the second in school history, Wolves fans were quick to storm the field on Friday. The Wolves previous win was during quarantine with very few fans in attendance. Ever since that win, the Wolves wanted to do it once again in front of their fans.
Next Friday, the Wolves are to face the only undefeated team in the conference in back to back conference champs Plainfield North.
Michael Wannah is a staff writer for Oswego East’s online news magazine The Howl