By Steve Robinson | April 18, 2021 - 10:57 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, U-High

NORMAL – A trio of University High players – senior running backs Justin Johnson and Peter Deffenbaugh, and senior wide receiver Gavin Markert proved too much for visiting Champaign Central High School Friday night as the Pioneers defeated the Maroons, 63-12, in a non-conference contest at Hancock Stadium on Illinois State University’s campus. The Maroons were a hurried substitution for the team U-High was originally scheduled in this home contest, Decatur Eisenhower High School. That school bowed out due to issues related to COVID-19.

After the Maroons punted to end its initial set of downs from the kickoff and displayed poor execution getting rid of the ball on fourth down, U-High (2-3) began its first possession at Champaign’s 28. Five plays later, Deffenbaugh’s rushing play into the end zone put his team in front, 7-0, following sophomore Declan Duley’s successful extra point at 9:23 in the first quarter.

U-High’s next possession started courtesy of an interception by Johnson in his role as defensive back, picking off a pass from Maroons junior quarterback Cody Brown. That interrupted the Maroons’ drive which began at their own 25 but put the Pioneers starting at the Maroons’ 48. Two plays later, Deffenbaugh’s 10 yard rushing touchdown at 7:22 in the quarter followed by Duley’s extra point added to the Pioneers’ lead, 14-0.

The Pioneers’ defense got into the act of scoring, too, during this contest, thanks to an interception by senior defensive back Jack Dameron. With Champaign starting a drive at their own 21, Dameron picked off Brown’s third down pass running it in for a 33 yard score at the 5:03 mark followed by Duley’s extra point, increasing U-High’s lead, 21-0.

Big 12 Conference opponent Champaign Central (0-5) ended their ensuing possession with a turnover on downs giving U-High the ball at the Maroons’ 43. Five plays later, sophomore quarterback Colin Cunningham connected with Markert for a 31 yard touchdown with 1:41 left in the quarter followed by Duley’s extra point, upping the Pioneers’ advantage, 28-0, going into the second quarter.

The ensuing set of downs for Champaign Central (0-5) resulted in a punt which put the Pioneers starting at their own 33 as the final seconds of the first quarter ticked away. Four plays later, a 27 yard pass from Cunningham to Johnson, followed by Duley’s extra point, put the Pioneers up, 35-0, at the 10:46 mark.

Defensive lineman Elon Mondy recovered a Champaign fumble interrupting a drive which started at their own 26 but ended at U-High’s 47, giving possession back to the Pioneers. Six plays later, junior running back Neil Sundaram scored from four yards out. Duley’s extra point extended U-High’s lead, 42-0, with 2:44 until halftime.

Champaign Central scored with 48 second left on a 60 yard pass from Brown to freshman receiver Braylon Thompson, but the Maroons’ 2-point conversion try failed, allowing U-High to maintain a 42-6 lead with 4:48 left in the quarter.

Each team experienced a set of downs resulting in a punt after that, and when the Pioneers got the ball back following the Maroons’ punt, they started at Champaign’s 40. One play later, Cunningham connected with Johnson again, this time for a 40 yard touchdown strike, followed by another Duley extra point, giving the Pioneers a 49-6 lead going into halftime.

Once the second half began, game officials employed IHSA’s “Mercy Rule,” – as a result of the 40-point plus difference in the game score, using a continuously running clock, stopping it only for timeouts taken by a team or because of an injury. The running clock began as the third quarter opened. Three plays after U-High received the second half kickoff, Markert scored his second touchdown of the contest from 25 yards out from Cunningham’s pass at 9:49 in the quarter followed by Duley’s extra point, increasing the Pioneers’ lead, 56-6.

Champaign Central scored their last points of the night on a handoff from Brown to junior running back Davis Willis for a seven yard rushing touchdown at 3:59 in the third quarter followed by a failed 2-point conversion attempt, cutting U-High’s lead, 56-12.

Just as he had started the evening scoring, Deffenbaugh closed out the Pioneers’ scoring on the night with a 37 yard rushing score, capping a 6 play, 76 yard drive followed by Duley’s extra point.

“I thought it was going to be a dogfight to be honest with you,” University High head coach John Johnson said afterward. “We came out and got up by two touchdowns and I think that broke their will a little bit. We did pretty well as a team tonight. I am very proud of our kids.”

Johnson had praise for Cunningham saying, “I remember telling reporters I thought he was going to be a good quarterback and I think he showed it tonight. The line blocked well for him a lot of times, he executed our whole offense, but he studied hard on our offense and he executed.”

“This was a team win,” Johnson said, adding praise for receivers, saying. “Neil Sundaram came in and he’s been working hard in practice and it was his time tonight.”

Prior to this contest, the team had struggled internally. But after this victory, as for the team’s complete effort, Johnson said, “They pulled the rope in the same direction all night and that really made a big difference.”

Johnson said he knew nothing about Champaign Central prior to the contest, adding, “I thought we were going to have a donnybrook here, but we played them pretty well.”

“We are a young team, so my frustrations are that I like to see my players compete ‘til the end of the game,” explained Champaign Central head coach Tim Turner, adding he saw his players do that.” He added the team has a motto of “we’ll play anybody anytime anyplace,” so the change of coming here had no effect on his players.

He said he thought his troops moved the ball “pretty well, but when you have 4 or 5 turnovers, it’s going to be difficult to score.” Champaign Central had two interceptions, two fumbles, and turned the ball over on downs to U-High twice.

The Pioneers are slated to travel to Jacksonville for a Central State Eight Conference contest Friday night.

By Steve Robinson | April 13, 2021 - 3:04 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, U-High

NORMAL – Although University High was able to keep pace with Springfield Lanphier High School during the first quarter of their Central State Eight Conference contest Friday night, the Pioneers’ defense’s not being able to contain Lions’ senior running back Tierre Butler allowed the senior running back to score twice on the night. That contributed to the end result of the Lions defeating the Pioneers, 33-20, before a small Hancock Stadium crowd.

Following a scoreless first quarter. U-High (1-3) grabbed a 3-0 lead on sophomore kicker Declan Duley’s 32 yard field goal 3 seconds into the second quarter. His points capped a five play 30 yard drive. Before that the Lions had trouble getting out of their own territory giving a field advantage to the Pioneers.

U-High increased its lead, 10-0, on a four yard score from senior running back Peter Deffenbaugh capping a 3 play 38 yard march at 7:09 in the quarter, followed by a Duley extra point.

Butler put Springfield Lanphier (2-2) on the board at 4:46 in the quarter on a 1 yard run capping a 6 play 69 yard drive followed by an extra point by sophomore kicker Alex Suprenant cutting the Pioneers’ lead, 10-7.

U-High were able to march into Lions territory on their next possession until they got to the Lions’ 30. From there, a pair of incomplete passes and a short yardage gain forced Duley to kick a 31 yard field goal for the Pioneers to increase their lead to 13-7 with 2:47 left in the half.

A second Butler touchdown from 7 yards out capped a 5 play 54 yard drive for the Lions from the ensuing kickoff followed by Suprenant’s extra point, putting Springfield Lanphier in front for the first time, 14-13, with 2:47 left, putting the Lions in front at the half.

An 80 yard pass from Lions senior quarterback Jacob Galassi to senior wide receiver A’Tejon Lee would help push the visitor’s lead, 21-13, following another Suprenant extra point. Lee’s score would be the only play in the drive toward the score at the 4:30 mark in the third quarter.

Each side would give up the ball on downs for their next possession, but Springfield Lanphier would score a final time at 4:17 in the fourth quarter as Galassi would scramble around Pioneers defenders for a 10 yard touchdown but Suprenant missed the extra point, but the Lions increased the lead, 27-13.

Senior running back Lamar Manning would a short yardage touchdown with 2:52 left in the game, but the extra point try failed, giving Springfield Lanphier a 33-13 lead.

Pioneers senior wide receiver Gavin Markert would catch a 28-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Collin Cunningham for a touchdown with 7 seconds left in the game, followed by Duley’s extra point leading to the final score.

“Up front, we knew their running game was good and we respect them for that,” explained Springfield Lanphier head coach Don Goff after the game, giving a nod to the Pioneers’ offense. ”But we felt we could get the ball to our athletes out in open spaces. We haven’t had a quarterback who likes to throw the ball as much as he does, and so we got the ball out in the parimeter and our kids made some great plays.”

Goff had praise for the Pioneers’ effort on the night, saying, “They are well coached and they play hard. They’re well coached.”

“We made this team look like a hundred bucks in this game,” Pioneers head coach John Johnson said of Springfield Lanphier in comparison to his squad. “We made too many mistakes. We should have won the game, but we didn’t. We made too many mistakes and we’re too divided.”

Champaign Central Visits Hancock Stadium Friday: The Pioneers will be home Friday night but Champaign Central from the Big 12 Conference will be the opponent rather than Decatur Eisenhower as noted on some schedules. Kickoff is slated for 7p.m. at Hancock Stadium.

By Steve Robinson | March 27, 2021 - 11:22 am
Posted in Category: The Normalite, U-High

NORMAL – University High School earned its first Central State 8 Conference win Friday night, overtaking Springfield Southeast in a 49-6 victory at Hancock Stadium on Illinois State University’s campus. Pioneers senior running back-defense back Peter Deffenbaugh scored on runs of 4 and 6 yards topping it off with an 82 yard scoring sprint to complete the night.

The sole score by Springfield Southeast (0-2) on the night came courtesy of a 21 yard interception touchdown by senior defense back Jared Harris, picking off a pass from Pioneers senior quarterback Camdyn Barclay converting it into what would be the Spartans’ only score of the night. That was followed by a failed two-point conversion. As a result, the visitors had a quick 6-0 lead going into the second quarter.

But from there, U-High (1-1) owned the evening, starting with taking the lead on a 13 yard rushing touchdown from senior wide receiver Ethan Hunt, followed by a successful extra point by sophomore kicker Declan Duley. That would put the Pioneers up 7-6, with 11 minutes left in the half.

U-High’s next score would come on a 36 yard touchdown pass from Barclay to senior wide receiver Justin “J.J.” Johnson at 6:04 in the second quarter, followed by Duley’s extra point, advancing the Pioneers lead to 14-6. U-High added a second touchdown in the half thanks to Deffenbaugh’s first score on the night, a 4 yard dash into the end zone at 2:46 until halftime followed by Duley’s extra point, increasing the Pioneers lead going into the half, 21-6.

Barclay’s 35 yard touchdown pass to senior Matthew Davenport helped the Pioneers open the second half with a 7 play 69 yard march into the end zone followed by another Duley extra point, giving U-High a 28-6 lead.

Deffenbaugh’s next rushing score from 6 yards out followed by Duley’s extra point helped add to the Pioneers’ lead, 35-6 at the four minute mark in the third quarter.

A Spartans special teams player bobbled and lost the ball after the ensuing kickoff giving Pioneers senior linebacker Harris Carr an opportunity to recover it, putting U-High at the Spartans’ 25 yard line for their next possession. It took the Pioneers three plays in one minute to get to the 1-yard line, highlighted by a 24 yard Barclay pass to junior quarterback-turned-receiver Konnor Bouman to get the Pioneers to the 1-yard line. From there, senior wide receiver Gavin Markert dashed into the end zone for a touchdown, putting the Pioneers up, 42-6.

On the Spartans’ next possession, an interception by Davenport stopped Springfield Southeast in the midst of a 6-play drive at the U-High 20 yard line. One play later, Deffenbaugh rushed for an 80 yard touchdown, followed by Duley’s last extra point on the night resulting in the final score.

“I feel like I stepped up this game and that 82 yard really helped me out,” Deffenbaugh said, adding he had a couple tackles in which Springfield Southeast lost yardage. He said the victory “definitely felt like a team win, for sure. We kept a good mentality throughout the whole game and we made big stops on defense and scored a bunch on offense. That really helped us out.”

Pioneers head coach John Johnson had praise for his six foot, 190 pound senior’s efforts on the night. “He ran the ball well and he blocked well, and he had an interception. He had a great game.”

Once the Pioneers figured out how to get around the Spartans’ secondary unit players, Johnson explained, “We started burning them pretty bad.”

The fourth season head coach added his staff challenged members of the defense all week to prevent Springfield Southeast from scoring as soon as the Pioneers put points on the board themselves. Johnson said that appears to be a pattern when playing other CS8 teams. “The defense answered the bell tonight. They played very hard.”

“We’ve got to execute, stay true to the game plan and just execute right,” Springfield Southeast head coach Matt Lauber said in explaining what his team should have accomplished during Friday’s contest. “U-High didn’t do anything different from what we planned for.” From looking at the Pioneers on film, Lauber added, “We thought we could take advantage of some stuff which would help clog up some of the running game. We did a good job on the run game. It was more the receivers that got us. That’s what hurt.”

BLOOMINGTON – When the brackets for the Small School Girls’ Division at the State Farm Bloomington-Normal Holiday Tournament were first posted, fans of University High School’s girls’ basketball team, seeded fifth, probably felt their team would do well, but possibly would run into problems against higher seeded teams. As the four-day tournament progressed, head coach Laura Sellers’ team faced three of four teams with single-digit seeds and emerged as the Small School Bracket Champion for this year by coming from behind to beat third seed and previously unbeaten Brimfield, 49-39, at Shirk Center on Illinois Wesleyan University’s campus Dec. 30.

But as the contest began, Brimfield (16-1), behind a trio of unanswered deuces from junior guard Haley Wallace, jumped out to a fast 6-0 lead following the opening tip. A Pioneers bucket by senior guard Logan Murray reduced that lead to 6-2. A pair of free throws by Brimfield junior forward Ella Lune pushed the Lady Indians up, 8-2. But U-High scored a deuce and a trey back-to-back soon after, with senior forward Chelsie Price scoring first followed by Murray adding to the total to pull U-High within one, 8-7 at the 4:11 mark in the opening quarter.

Brimfield went on a 6-0 unanswered run of their own, topped off by a basket from sophomore forward Sophie Bedell, giving the Lady Indians a 12-9 lead. A deuce and free throw by Lune pushed Brimfield out in front, 15-9 with 1:40 left in the opening quarter, but the Pioneers cut that lead, 15-11, on two free throws by junior guard Chloe Ward with 1:26 left in the quarter. Brimfield owned a 17-11 advantage to open the second quarter thanks to a bucket by Wallace.

U-High (10-6 after this game) opened the second quarter on a 6-0 spurt with a deuce each from sophomore guard Naomi Elliott and junior guard Alexis Noonan before Murray sank a trey to give the Pioneers their first lead of the contest, 18-17, with 5:49 remaining. Lune hit a pair of unanswered deuces to put Brimfield up by three, 21-18. Murray responded with a deuce to pull U-High within one, 21-20, with two minutes remaining. Wallace countered to put Brimfield up, 23-20. But then, Lune fouled Murray as she was in the process of shooting from behind the three-point line. As a result, Murray hit a trio of free throws and Price closed out the quarter with a deuce to put U-High up by two at the half, 25-23.

Noonan opened the second half with a deuce for the Pioneers to expand U-High’s lead, 27-23. Brimfield’s Wallace and U-High junior forward Kassidy Patton exchanged buckets, followed by a pair of baskets, one from Lune and one from senior forward Ella Cagwin, knotting the game at 29-29. U-High senior guard Emma Harding’s trey midway through the quarter gave the Pioneers a 32-29 advantage and prompted Pioneers’ Sellers to call a time out. Coming out of that timeout, Price hit another basket, increasing U-High’s lead, 34-29 with 3:26 left in the quarter. Brimfield head coach Maribeth Dura called timeout at that point to assess her team’s situation. Coming out of the timeout, Wallace hit a layup for Brimfield and was followed by back-to-back buckets for U-High from Price and Noonan, giving the Pioneers a 38-31 lead going into the fourth quarter.

U-High’s Murray and Brimfield sophomore forward Sophie Bedell exchanged deuces to open the fourth quarter, with the Pioneers in front, 40-33 with 6:13 left in the contest. A foul by Lune sent Price to the free throw line where she sank 1-of-2, increasing the Pioneers’ advantage, 41-33 at the 3:56 mark. Wallace followed for Brimfield hitting a deuce, cutting the Pioneers’ lead to six, 41-35, with 1:45 remaining. From there, Lady Indians fouls sent Ward to the free throw line twice, and Lune, Murray and senior guard Emma Harding once each. Combined, those shooters went 6-for-7 to give U-High a 47-35 lead.

Harding fouled Cagwin as she tried to shoot from beyond the three-point line, putting her at the line for three shots which she made with 15.7 seconds left, reducing U-High’s lead, 47-38. But Cagwin would then foul Ward with 9 seconds left. Ward would sink both shots giving U-High a 49-38 lead. Fouled by Pioneers sophomore guard Naomi Elliott, Cagwin would go 1-for-2 at the line for Brimfield’s final points, resulting in the final score.

Murray led U-High’s scoring with 15 points including two treys. She was followed in double-digits by Price’s 11. Wallace and Lune led Brimfield’s scoring effort, pocketing 16 points and 15 points, respectfully.

“We had the chance to be the aggressor defensively and those experiences paid off,” Sellers said afterward about part of U-High’s strategy. “When you play four games in four days, sometimes the last game isn’t the best game. I think both teams were getting after it and making it hard for the other to score and it became a defensive battle in the third quarter.”

“We really focus on our defense, and our biggest thing is if we can down, then we don’t have to worry about scoring as much,” explained Price.

“U-High is very physical, and we don’t normally see that,” admitted Dura following the game. “We knew they’d be physical. We thought we had a pretty good physical game going against Rochester the other day, but U-High just came out and played their hard-nosed defense. U-High is really good about being patient against opponents, so I think their possessions are very long, and I think we weren’t as patient.”

Pioneers Advance To Championship With Semi-final Win Over Rock Falls, 42-27: The win over the Spartans placed U-High in a semi-final in the bracket against top seed Rock Falls on Dec. 28. But the Lady Rockets discovered early they were in for a fight against U-High and it turned out to be a fight they couldn’t win. U-High led early and throughout the contest, with leads of 8-2 at the end of the first quarter and 19-7 at the half. The third quarter was the only one Rock Falls achieved scoring double-digits in, but U-High still outpaced them during that stanza, 13-12. Going into the fourth quarter, the Pioneers owned a 32-19 advantage. That win set them up to take on the Lady Indians for the Small School Girls’ bracket title on Dec. 30. Murray and Price led Pioneers’ scoring, with 17 and 15, respectfully. Junior guard Abi Peyton was the lone Lady Rockets player in double-figures with 13 points.

Second Round Victory Over St. Joseph-Ogden, 41-35: The final score of the Pioneers’ second round contest might not indicate it, but Sellers’ team’s defense prevented any 4th seeded St. Joseph-Ogden players from scoring in double-figures. What’s more, U-High trailed the Spartans after one quarter, 17-8, and 26-16 at the half. A 13-2 third quarter onslaught by the Pioneers gave U-High a 29-28 lead going into the fourth quarter where the Pioneers continued to overtake their opponents resulting in the victory. U-High’s Price led all scorers with 12 points followed in double-figures by Elliott who scored 10 points which included one trey and seven free throws in 12 tries at the line. Junior forward Payton Vallee served as St. Joseph-Ogden’s high scorer pocketing 9 points.

Pioneers Outpace Rockford Lutheran For First Round Win, 45-30: The Pioneers got their tournament off to a positive start by winning their opening round game against 12th seed Rockford Lutheran, 45-30. The Pioneers led throughout, 9-6 at the end of the first quarter, 23-12 at halftime, and 36-26 by the end of the third quarter. Patton led the Pioneers in scoring with 14 points followed by Price who scored 11 to boost their team into the second round against 4th seed St. Joseph-Ogden.

NORMAL – University High School’s boys’ basketball team, seeded 7th when the State Farm Bloomington-Normal Holiday Classic tournament started the day after Christmas finished in 7th place on the third day of the tourney with a 66-32 victory over Machesney Park Harlem on Dec. 28 in a game played at Normal Community West High School.

U-High extended their record to 8-5 following the win, which included owning leads of 14-4 after one quarter and 26-8 at the half. The Pioneers, behind lead scorer junior forward Angelo Bernal’s 15 points on the night, extended that lead to 49-21 by the end of the third quarter. U-High sank 11 three-pointers during the contest. Bernal was joined in double-figures by senior guard Drew Wollenschlager’s 13 points and 11 from sophomore guard D. J. Starr. This game was the second of two Dec. 28 starting with the contest against Peoria High.

Pioneers Force Overtime Against Peoria High: U-High found themselves facing Machesney Park Harlem after losing in overtime to Peoria High at Shirk Center on Illinois Wesleyan University’s campus, falling to the Lions, 65-58. After trailing at the end of the first quarter, 15-14, and leading at halftime, 24-21, The Pioneers found themselves in charge for most of the third quarter until a basket by Lions sophomore guard Lerone Allen tied the game at 33-all at the 4:01 mark. From there, a trio of unanswered threes – two from Allen and one from senior guard Christopher Williams – closed out the third quarter putting the Lions in front, 42-33.

U-High started the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run which started with a trey from senior guard Logan Christensen, reducing Peoria’s lead to 46-40. A free throw by senior forward Joe Brown and a trey by Christensen helped U-High come within two, 46-44, and prompted Peoria High head coach Dan Ruffin to call timeout with 3:35 left.

A trey by sophomore guard Nate Moore with three minutes left and a free throw from junior center Dionysius Hogan pushed the Lions in front, 50-46, prompting U-High to call time with 1:37 left. Coming out of the timeout, Wollenschlager hit a trey to help the Pioneers pull within one, 50-49, with 1:07 remaining in regulation. Coming out of the timeout, Hogan’s jumper with 59 seconds left, put the Lions up, 52-49. Christensen scored a game-tying three with 39.2 seconds left, forcing the game into a 52-all overtime.

The Pioneers found themselves in chase mode throughout the extra stanza, only coming as close as two points behind twice, 56-54 on a breakaway basket by senior guard Alex Wood and 58-56, thanks to a deuce by Christensen. After Christensen’s bucket, U-High called a timeout, but coming back into play, the overtime belonged to Peoria, which saw Hogan hit a deuce and a free throw followed by Lions sophomore guard Staishaun Kelley making 3-of-4 free throws after being fouled twice, putting the Lions’ victory within reach.

Pioneers Fail To Overcome Rock Island’s 4th Quarter Scoring Run: The Pioneers managed to maintain a basket-for-basket ratio for most of three quarters against second seed Rock Island in U-High’s second game of the tourney Dec. 27 – that is until the fourth quarter.

Prior to the fourth quarter, Pioneers trailed the Rocks 13-11 after one quarter, led at the half, 27-22, and found themselves behind at the end of the third quarter, 35-32. Treys by Wollenschlager and Christensen, and senior guard Brandon Merritt helped the Pioneers keep pace with their opponents. But after Pioneers junior forward Angelo Bernal opened the last quarter with a deuce to pull within one of Rock Island, 35-34 with 7:48 left in the contest, two back-to-back unanswered baskets for the Rocks by senior forward Solomon Gustafson lit the fuse on a 16-0 scoring surge which didn’t end until Wollenschlager’s next basket with 51.8 seconds remaining, cutting Rock Island’s lead, 51-36.

Senior guard Alijah Walker-Lee scored the Rocks’ final points which were quickly countered at the final buzzer for U-High with a trey by senior guard Caden Overton. But that loss sent the Pioneers attempting to claim 5th place in the tournament with the Peoria Lions as their next opponent. Against Rock Island, senior guard Alex Wood was U-High’s lone player in double figures with 11 points. Rock Island’s scoring leaders were junior guard Colton Sigel and senior forward Taurean Holtam who scored 13 points each, and 11 from Gustafson.

Pioneers Need Overtime To Win Opening Game Against Chicago Kenwood: The Pioneers trailed Chicago Kenwood during their opening round contest Dec. 26 but managed to corral the Broncos midway through the third quarter, or so they thought. After trailing 12-9 after one quarter and 27-24 at the half. U-High would catch and surpass the Broncos going into the fourth quarter leading, 42-37. But in that final quarter, U-High would find themselves behind again by as much as six, 51-45, on a trey from Kenwood junior guard Martin Kenall. From there, a pair of deuces from Pioneers sophomore forward Kenall Stork helped tie the game, the last of the two shots coming with 50 seconds in regulation.

The Pioneers started the overtime by going on a 6-0 run highlighted by two deuces from Wood and a deuce between those from junior guard Brandon Merritt, pushing U-High in front, 57-51. From there, both sides’ defenses tightened but Kenwood fouls would send Stork to the free throw line twice and Merritt once for a combined 4-for-6 putting the game out of reach for the Broncos and sending the Pioneers on to the second round against second seed Rock Island.

“We had a five point lead going into the fourth quarter but we came out a little sloppy in that quarter and Kenwood took the lead and ran it up by 6 and our guys just stayed together, executed, fought for defensive stops, and possession by possession, we fought for wins on offense and defense and ended up getting right back in the game,” U-High head coach Andrew McDowell explained afterward.