Instant classic: North Posey notches first-ever win over Mater Dei in OT thriller
- Final: North Posey 35, Mater Dei 34 (OT)
EVANSVILLE — Clad in Halloween costumes, the North Posey student section stormed the Reitz Bowl field as pandemonium ensued.
They had just witnessed one of the biggest victories in program history — a moment 40 years in the making. Mater Dei has been a thorn in their side, especially during the last two postseasons as the Vikings were outscored 77-13. They had never beaten the Wildcats prior to Friday evening, but that 18-game streak dating back to 1983 is now over.
After erasing a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and stopping Mater Dei on a potential game-winning two-point try in overtime, the seemingly impossible happened.
North Posey held off Mater Dei 35-34 in overtime to advance to its third consecutive Class 2A Sectional 40 championship. The Vikings clinched their first 10-win season since 2012 as they seek their first sectional title since 2005.
No. 4-ranked North Posey struck first in overtime. Then Mater Dei countered with a touchdown, and Mater Dei coach Mike Goebel wanted to go for the win with a two-point attempt. But the Vikings refused to break.
Down went the defending state champions.
"This is the biggest win of my career, I can say," senior quarterback Liam Stone said. "Every rep, every camp I've gone to and every piece of training has been to beat these guys. They have not left my mind ever since my sophomore year when we lost here. And it feels great. It feels great to get back out here."
"I think we started this season with a big chip on our shoulder," junior running back Jed Galvin added. "I know I've been in this position twice and lost to them two years in a row. This is just the biggest game for us."
Whenever North Posey (10-1) needed a big play, Stone and Galvin were almost always involved. They combined for 244 rushing yards and accounted for all five of the Vikings' touchdowns. Galvin broke the plane for the go-ahead score in overtime, and Stone aired it out down the field as he found fellow senior Jackson Graff late in the fourth to make one of the biggest plays of the game.
"The O-line did a great job of grounding and pounding for most of the night," Stone said. "And whenever (Mater Dei) caught on to the ground and pound, we aired it out. (The O-line has) been working for this and they want it just as bad as we do."
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The Wildcats (3-8) provided fireworks of their own by scoring 21 points in the third quarter. On the first offensive play of the second half, sophomore Nolan Schickel sprinted down the sideline for a long touchdown. Senior Spencer Turner's second score gave the Wildcats their first lead. Senior Wyatt Stratman stretched the lead with a one-yard rushing score of his own.
But North Posey assistant coach Drew Johnston had one final message for his team at practice the day before. This team was going to face adversity against Mater Dei. So, how would they respond?
"He was right," Vikings coach Waylon Schenk said. "I wasn't sure if we were going to bounce back, to be honest. It was like we had to make every single play to dig ourselves out of a hole. And these guys just kept making plays."
North Posey will host the sectional championship against Paoli (10-1) next Friday. The Vikings defeated the Rams 55-31 on the road in last year's playoff showdown and are looking forward to their fan base packing the home stands.
"It was a great atmosphere here tonight, but there's nothing like playing in Poseyville at Joe Gengelbach Field," Schenk said. "It's going to be a packed house. We're hopefully going to go home and bring home that sectional title for the first time in 18 years."
North Posey's football players, coaches and fans stuck around Reitz Bowl long after the final snap, still soaking up the magic of what they were a part of. This was a game that Stone will never forget. Neither will the rest of the Vikings and their faithful.
"We had to make it interesting," Galvin said. "We can't blow them out every game. You wouldn't want it any other way in overtime. First win against Mater Dei."
Courier & Press sports reporter Treasure Washington can be reached via her email, email@example.com, and on X, formerly known as Twitter, @Twashington490.