Prairie Ridge’s Brogan Amherdt sends Wolves to Class 6A title game with improbable game-winning field goal

Wolves senior had never attempted a field goal in 2 years on the team

Prairie Ridge’s Brogan Amherdt makes his game-winning field goal against St. Ignatius in Class 6A football playoff semifinal action at Crystal Lake on Saturday.

CRYSTAL LAKE – Prairie Ridge kicker Brogan Amherdt had never attempted a field goal in a game before Saturday.

So when he told Wolves quarterback and best friend Tyler Vasey for days that he was going to kick a game-winner in the Class 6A state semifinals, Vasey rightly so was a little suspicious.

Amherdt, who earlier in the game missed the Wolves’ first extra point after losing his footing and slipping on ice, made good on his promise.

With 9.7 seconds remaining, Amherdt stepped up and connected on his first career field goal from 29 yards out, sending No. 2-seeded Prairie Ridge past No. 4 St. Ignatius 21-19 and into the Class 6A state championship.

The Wolves (12-1) will face No. 6 East St. Louis (11-2) – a 32-29 winner over Lemont in the other semifinal – at 1 p.m. Nov. 26 at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in Champaign. Prairie Ridge is making its first championship appearance since 2019 and fifth in program history – all since 2011.

Amherdt joined the team last year and never got a chance to kick anything other than an extra point before Saturday.

“Brogan’s been telling me all week that he’s going to get a game winner,” said Vasey, who also is the team’s placeholder. “I was like, ‘Uh, I sure hope you don’t. Hopefully the game’s a little more out of hand than that.’ But I’m so happy he did it. I’m so happy for him.”

Amherdt, who is the goalkeeper on the school’s soccer team, said he has never experienced anything quite like Saturday.

After kicking the game-winner, he ran wildly back to the sideline in disbelief. After the game, he was the first to be embraced by the Wolves’ student section with hugs and high fives.

Prairie Ridge kicker Brogan Amherdt is mobbed by the Wolves as his field goal sealed a win over St. Ignatius in Class 6A football playoff semifinal action at Crystal Lake on Saturday.

“I kind of just blacked out,” Amherdt said. “I took a deep breath and I don’t remember anything from there. In soccer, we’re lucky to get one-eighth of the fans. We don’t get anything like this. It was wild, it was really crazy.”

Two weeks ago against Kaneland in the second round, one of Amherdt’s extra points went past the crossbar and almost came back over because the winds were so strong. He did not leave anything to chance against St. Ignatius, clearing the crossbar by at least 10 yards.

“I just made sure I hit it with enough power,” Amherdt said. “After missing [the extra point], I’m just glad they had the confidence in me to give me another chance to redeem myself. I’m going to go hug coach [Chris] Schremp after this.”

With less than 10 seconds left, Schremp said he had no thoughts of running another play to get closer. With the Wolves trailing 19-18, a pass interference penalty against St. Ignatius on fourth-and-17 gave the Wolves the ball at the 20. Vasey scrambled for eight yards on fourth-and-2, setting up Amherdt’s heroics.

“I feel really happy for that kid,” Schremp said. “Struggling early with the extra points, coming back and nailing the big one. He’s got confidence in himself.”

Senior Landon Miller, Prairie Ridge’s long-snapper and tight end, said the conditions, including ice and bursts of snow and wind, were terrible. After the Wolves’ second TD of the game, Miller’s extra-point snap was high. Vasey caught the ball, tucked and ran but was stopped.

The Wolves never lost confidence in themselves.

“My hands were very frozen,” Miller said. “I snapped it right at his head but things happen. It’s how you bounce back. I felt very confident. We do it every day in practice. Our coaches know we can do it. It’s just routine, it’s executing and everyone doing their one-eleventh.”

Amherdt still was in shock after the game.

“There’s nothing like this,” Amherdt said. “We’ve never made it out of the first round in soccer, so this is unbelievable. Tyler Vasey’s been my best friend since sixth, seventh grade, and being able to do this with him is unbelievable. I love all of these guys.”