October 14, 2004

Tigers Cap Off ‘The Drive’ With Last Second Score To Beat Belle Plaine

If the Scotland County football team closes out the season well, the Tigers will be able to look back and point to “The Drive” as the changing point of the season.

Trailing Belle-Plaine 24-20 in the fourth quarter the Plainesmen were marching down field for what looked like a game-ending touchdown. But SCR-I got a reprieve, recovering a fumble on the six-yard line with 9:19 left to play in the game. What ensued, is now being referred to as “The Drive” as SCR-I went 94 yards in nine minutes, scoring on fourth and goal with 11 seconds left on the clock to pull out a 26-24 victory.

After the game Coach Brent Bondurant pointed to the team’s goal board, which is a list of accomplishments the Tigers hope to make each game. He highlighted the goal of mounting a sustained drive.

“I’d have to say we’ll need an asterisk by that one, as that was the drive of the year,” Bondurant said. “I was a little nervous there at the end when we used our last timeout on third down. Those seconds were flying off the clock.”

But the Tigers did not run out of time as Bondurant called two plays in his last trip to the huddle. Belle Plaine had stopped the Tigers on two plays after they started first and goal from the one. A third down running play went nowhere, as the Tigers were backed up to the four-yard line. But the final attempt paid off, as the Tigers went to a play-action pass. The call confused the defense and quarterback Marcus Shalley was able to buy a little extra time, rolling out to his left before he hit Matt Wickert in the corner of the endzone for the TD.

Shelley punctuated the game by intercepting the final Belle Plaine pass attempt and nearly returned it for a score as time ran out.

“The Drive” started 94 yards away. Just as impressive as the distance and the amount of clock eaten up on the series, was the number of Tigers that contributed to the effort.

Tim Robinson started the drive by recovering the fumble.

Shalley made the first key play as SCR-I was faced with third and long from the 8-yard line. The sophomore QB went back to pass. When he couldn’t find a receiver he broke to the outside and scrambled toward the chains. He dove for the marker and was able to pick up the first down by extending the ball forward as he went down.

Jared Shelley offered his normal workman-like effort, pounding the ball inside and out to pick up key yards to help move the chains.

B.J. Houghton came in to spell the senior tailback and ran with energy and power as he bowled over the Plainesmen for a couple more first downs.

Grant Blomme made a sensational catch on third down and long. The sophomore receiver was fully extended to snatch a pass out of midair to secure a key first down near midfield.

None of it would have been possible without another solid game from the Tigers offensive line. Michael Garnett, Lance Smith, Greg Neagle, Jon Keller and Devin Mauck put in a long night at work as the Tigers held a nearly 2-to-1 advantage in time of possession, meaning the offense was on the field most of the night.

That was the case in the first half as well, but it was more because of big plays for Belle Plaines than because of the domination the Tigers showed in half number two.

The Plainsmen took the opening kick off and two plays later were in the end zone. Quarterback Cole McLeod connected with Kyle Spading for a 67-yard touchdown pass. Spading proved to be the Tigers’ Achilles heal in the first half. The 6’5” receiver caught five passes for 128 yards.

The Tigers answered back at the start of the second period as Tim Robinson scored on a three-yard run. Shalley hit Wickert on the two-point conversion to tie the score at 8-8 with 11:55 left in the first half.

Garnett ended Belle Plaine’s next drive with a quarterback sack on fourth down. But the Tigers couldn’t convert on a fourth down of their own and gave the ball back to the Plainesmen with 3:55 left in the first half.

That proved to be more than enough time as Jordan Formanek crashed through the defense on his was to a 41-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion made the score 16-8.

The Tigers pushed the ball down filed but a fumble gave Belle Plaine one final chance to put points on the board. That ended when Wickert intercepted a pass to close out the half.

The Tigers took the kickoff to start the second half and marched down field. Shelley went in from one yard out to make the score 14-12 with 8:26 remaining in the third period.

The Tigers caught a huge break as Belle Plaine muffed the ensuing kickoff. Wickert recovered the fumble at the 27-yard line to bring the offense right back onto the field.

A holding penalty, the only flag of the game on the Tigers, immediately backed the team up. But Shalley hit Karl Snyder across the middle for a big gain to quickly erase the mistake. Houghton capped off the drive with a one-yard run and the Tigers led 20-16 with 5:48 left in the third period.

The lead did not last long. Faced with fourth and one at midfield, Belle Plaine not only got the first down, they got the whole enchilada as Travis Beck rumbled through the Tigers defense on his way to a touchdown. The two-point conversion put the Plainsmen ahead 24-20 with 4:15 left in the third period.

The Tigers looked like they were in trouble. Belle Plaine forced the only punt of the game and then took the ball 81 yards for what looked to be the game-ending drive. But the Plainesmen turned the ball over at the six-yard line and the rest is history.

The Tigers racked up more than 400 yards of total offense to improve to 3-3 on the year. Shelley did a huge chunk of that damage, carrying the ball 41 times for 172 yards and a score. Robinson had 10 carries for 46 yards and a TD while Houghton had a season-high 39 yards on eight attempts at crunch time.

Marcus Shalley completed 10 of 22 passes for 109 yards and a TD. He found Wickert seven times for 60 yards and the game winner. Blomme made two grabs for 28 yards and Snyder’s catch went for 21 yards.

McLeod was 9-18 for 175 yards and a TD but was intercepted twice. Spading was shut out in the second half, finishing with five receptions for 128 yards and a TD.

Beck had 12 carries for 169 yards and Formanek had three runs for 57 yards as Belle Plaine racked up 350 yards in limited time on the field.

Wickert led the defensive performance for SCR-I with six tackles an interception and a fumble recovery. Shelley made six stops and a pick while Houghton finished with seven tackles.

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