The two-way starter also was at the forefront of an exhilarating and unforgettable finish.
Furtney caught a career-high four touchdown passes, including a game-winning 12-yard TD catch from junior quarterback Ethan Plumb in overtime, as St. Charles North pulled out a 42-35 DuKane Conference victory on the Tigers’ homecoming.
Furtney scored on second down on Plumb’s throw into the far right corner of the end zone.
”I told Ethan when we get that read, just let me go make a play. We missed two [earlier] and I knew we were going to come back to it,” Furtney said. ”He made a big-time throw and I made a big-time play and that’s what we do.”
Plumb was a phenomenal 37-of-53 passing for 397 yards and five touchdowns and also rushed for an 11-yard TD for St. Charles North (3-2, 1-2). The North Stars trailed 21-0 in the second quarter and 27-14 entering the fourth quarter.
St. Charles North had a chance to win in regulation but the Tigers’ Connor Sliwa blocked Hunter Liszka’s 38-yard field-goal attempt with 2.8 seconds left.
”We’ve been really inconsistent, [but] our offense has been putting points on the board,” St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak said. ”It’s just a tribute to the guys’ tenacity and players like [Furtney] making plays. He doesn’t come off the field. Just a great job by everyone. I’m really happy for them to get the victory. They really deserve it. That’s a big win for us.”
WW South (2-3, 1-2) received an extraordinary game from senior running back/linebacker Matt Crider, who rushed for 293 yards and four TDs on 37 carries in only his second game back from injury.
”It was just playing with my brothers. We take this so seriously. This team loves each other. We’ll fight for each other no matter what. That’s what it was,” Crider said. ”I’m definitely proud of our offense. Our defense did great, too. Just a couple of plays but we’ll come back.”
In overtime, the Tigers faced fourth down on the 9-yard line. Quarterback Luca Carbonaro was pressured by Julio Sanchez but scrambled. His pass attempt fell incomplete a couple of yards in front of the end zone.
Plumb started the game 4 of 10 with several drops. He was 8-of-10 passing on a 70-yard TD drive that cut the deficit to 21-7 at halftime.
”[Plumb] throws that rock and he throws it with confidence. He trusts us receivers, which is most important,” Furtney said. ”I’m proud of my teammates. I expect that out of myself. Our sidelines, even our JV players, were good in supporting us. I had a few drops in the first half. I had my head down and they were the first ones to pick me up.”
The North Stars closed to within 27-21 on a 19-yard TD pass to Furtney and pulled ahead 28-27 with 5:54 left on a 9-yard slant TD pass to Jake Mettetal, who caught 14 passes for 156 yards. The Tigers regained the lead at 35-28 when Crider rushed for 44 yards and then a 31-yard TD with 4:07 left. On the two-point conversion, Carbonaro appeared in trouble near the sideline but connected with a wide-open Amari Williams, who earlier had a 56-yard TD catch and a key block on Crider’s 49-yard TD run.
The North Stars came right back and tied the game at 35 with 2:09 left on Plumb’s TD run after a 37-yard pass to Anthony Taomina to the 11.
Furtney had his second sack to set up the drive for the potential game-winning field goal that was blocked in regulation.
”It’s a great high school game, back and forth. I thought our kids battled their hearts out,” WWS coach Sean Norris said. ”Matt had 293 yards. It’s hard to do that and lose, but those kids, they battled. St. Charles North made plays, especially in the passing game when they needed to and they ended up making a couple of more than we did.”