EDGINGTON, Ill. — How much time is too much?
Orion continues to frustrate opponents with the answer, executing a comeback in the final two minutes for the second straight week. The Chargers put together a game-winning 62-yard touchdown drive in 41 seconds to beat Rockridge 21-17 Saturday at Rockridge High School.
Seth West caught the game-winning touchdown with 53 seconds left, then Jeffrey Holbrook intercepted a Hail Mary pass from Rockridge quarterback Riley Fetterer as time expired to send the Chargers to the Class 2A quarterfinals, where they'll host Eastland-Pearl City.
Last week, Orion (11-0) put together a 65-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes to earn a 24-21 win over Fieldcrest.
"It just shows us how good we play in the last two minutes of the game, coming off of last week," West said. "We can compete with other teams, especially in the last few minutes of the games."
Dawson Schulenberg has been the architect of both comeback drives for the Chargers. On Saturday's final drive the senior quarterback was 3-of-4 for 47 yards, including the 21-yard pass to West in the end zone.
Last week, Schulenberg was 4-of-6 for 47 yards on the final drive. He finished Saturday's game with 149 yards and two touchdowns, though he did throw his first interception of the year, which set up Fetterer's go-ahead 13-yard touchdown pass to Cole Rusk with 1:34 remaining.
"Dawson's playing great, even though he had his first pick, that didn't bother him at all," West said. "It shows us what kind of player he is, just to forget about the past. Keep moving forward, and he knew we had enough time to get it done."
West finished the game with 138 yards and a touchdown on the ground as well as two catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns through the air. His first, a 40-yard catch, put the Chargers up 7-0 in the first quarter.
Rockridge (7-3) answered back with an 80-yard run from Thomas Rollason to tie the game in the second quarter, only to give up a 60-yard run from West two plays later.
Cody Bush kicked a 29-yard field goal just before halftime to cut the score to 14-10.
Fetterer — who returned last week after missing five weeks with a shoulder injury — was a big part of Rockridge's offense in the game, finishing with 105 yards and a touchdown passing and 98 yards rushing and extended plays with his feet, including on the touchdown pass where he rolled out to buy time and find Rusk in the end zone.
After Orion took the lead back late, the Rockets drove down to the Orion 39 before Holbrook intercepted Fetterer's final pass as time expired.
"With them having Fetterer back, obviously you saw a boost in their offense, he's a phenomenal player on offense," Holbrook said. "We knew Riley wasn't at full arm-strength potential because of his shoulder so I just kept dropping back, looking at their receivers and saw the ball go up in the air so I went up to get it. Coming down was a great feeling because I knew we had it in the bag after that."
Rockridge outgained Orion 381-270 in the game but struggled with penalties, committing 12 for 101 yards. Still, the Rockets gave the Chargers a much stiffer test than two weeks ago when they fell 31-0 in the last week of the regular season.
"It was something we knew they had deep down inside," Rockridge head coach Sam Graves said. "They're such physical, hard-nosed kids. We thought they could give us a chance to win this game, and they did."
Meanwhile, Orion will prepare to face Eastland Pearl-City and look to keep this undefeated season going.
"I don't know if we're going to make it easier because it's going to be tight football the rest of the way," Orion head coach Chip Filler said. "We're just going to go back to work but we'll celebrate this one tonight."