Grayslake Central locks in playoff bid with win over Lakes

GRAYSLAKE — With Grayslake Central facing a fourth-and-goal from the 6-yard line and trailing to conference rival Lakes with just under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Rams needed one of their playmakers to step up.

Junior wide receiver Kaiden Miller rose to the occasion.

Senior quarterback Darryl Overstreet lobbed a pass to the back right corner of the end zone and Miller elevated, catching the ball with a defender draped all over him.

After the touchdown reception, the Rams’ student section began to chant, “You got Mossed.”

Former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss would approve of Miller’s catch.

The Rams converted the 2-point conversion on the play afterward thanks to Overstreet connecting with tight end Kurt Heerdegen. And Grayslake Central went on to defeat Lakes, 34-24, in front of its home crowd to improve to 6-2 on the season, guaranteeing the team a playoff spot.

With the loss, the Eagles (5-3) will have another opportunity next Friday to earn their sixth win of the season at home against Antioch.

To begin Friday’s Northern Lake County Conference matchup, the Rams scored the first points on the night. Grayslake Central went on an 8-play drive that ended with Miller scoring a touchdown as the Wildcat quarterback from the 8-yard line.

On Lakes’ ensuing possession, the Eagles drove down the length of the field but the Rams’ defense came up with an interception at their own 13. Overstreet picked off Max Bausch over the middle of the field.

Lakes did force a 3-and-out after the interception. And the visiting team capitalized on the good field position, starting from its own 49, and scored a touchdown of its own. Amir Al Hindi scored from the 1-yard line, but the extra point was blocked. Then Grayslake Central had a turnover of its own. Lakes turned the mistake into points with its 9-play drive that ended with a Mark Hunter 6-yard touchdown run. Again, Lakes failed to convert on the 2-point conversion.

And as playoff teams do, the Rams responded. Grayslake Central went on a touchdown drive of its own and Overstreet found Heerdegen on a fade route toward the back right corner of the end zone.

The Rams went up 13-12 with 1:32 remaining in the second quarter.

But that was plenty of time for the Eagles to put together another scoring drive. Led by Bausch, who completed three passes on the drive and ran once for 10 yards, the Eagles punched in another touchdown with Hunter’s 3-yard touchdown run.

The Eagles went up 18-13 at halftime.

And Lakes extended its lead in the third quarter after Grayslake turned the ball over on downs to begin the half. Hindi ended a 5-play drive with his 14-yard touchdown run. But that would be the Eagles’ final point on the night.

Grayslake Central took over and scored touchdowns on its next three possessions. Senior running back Luca Maravola capped off the Rams’ impressive victory with his 30-yard touchdown run.

The Rams will end their regular season with a road game against the winless North Chicago Warhawks next Friday.