When the dust settled and the clock showed zero, the Beavers emerged victorious as they came from behind to defeat the Wildcats by the score of 40-37.
“I was real proud of them,” said Falls City Head Coach Mark Kirchhoff. “We didn’t get off to a fast start but we seemed to handle it a little better. Our kids responded and focused on the task at hand. We felt like at halftime we had exposed some things we could attack. Our two minute attack, you couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
In the first half, the Wildcats demonstrated just how explosive their offense was early and often.
On the opening drive of the game, with 8:37 left in the 1st quarter, Yorktown junior running back Rodryck Williams gave the Wildcats their first touchdown of the night on a 19-yard run.
Senior receiver and kicker Kolbe Ybarra tacked on the extra point to give the Wildcats an early 7-0 edge.
Ybarra went a perfect 5 for 5 on extra points for the contest. Later in the quarter, with 2:24 left and after being pinned deep in their own territory, the Wildcats turned to their senior running back Jayden Barefield to get them out of that precarious position. Barefield did just that and broke free for a 91-yard touchdown run to make the score 14-0 as the 1st quarter ended.
In the 2nd quarter, the Beavers began to show some life. With 10:28 on the clock, senior running back Tyler Wiatrek broke many tackles on his way to the end zone, scoring on a 57-yard run to put Falls City on the scoreboard. However the ensuing extra point was no good, leaving the score at 14-6.
The Wildcats clawed right back after the following kickoff as Williams scored his second rushing touchdown of the night, this time from 58 yards out, to extend the lead to 21-6 at the 10:15 mark.
The Beavers responded before halftime as, with 7:59 to go, junior quarterback Cameron Soto found senior receiver Wade Jimerson deep and connected on a 50-yard touchdown pass. The 2 point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score at 21-12 as the first half drew to a close.
The second half was where the heart-racing action took place in the game.
Right on the opening kickoff to begin the half, taking just a few seconds off the clock, junior running back and kick returner Phillip Lyssy received the kick and took it all the way in from 84 yards out for a touchdown. Again, the PAT failed to find its’ mark, leaving the score in Yorktown’s favor at 21-18. That score would stand through the 3rd quarter and into the 4th quarter.
In the 4th quarter, both teams showed what they were capable of.
With 11:49 on the clock, Barefield would score his second rushing touchdown of the night on a 42-yard run to extend the lead to 28-18.
On the ensuing Falls City possession, the Beavers drove down the field and capped their drive on the legs of Wiatrek, who scored on a 4-yard run with 9:25 left to play.
Wiatrek also showed his arm strength on the ensuing 2 point conversion, connecting with sophomore quarterback Dean Gaskamp on a trick play to close the gap at 28-26.
After forcing Yorktown to punt, the Beavers took their first lead of the night at the 2:17 mark as Soto found an opening and scored on an 18-yard run. On the ensuing conversion attempt, Soto threw a pass into the waiting arms of Jimerson, giving the Beavers a 34-28 lead.
That lead would be short-lived, as the Wildcats regained control after a failed onside kick.
Barefield showed his receiving skills, catching a 33-yard pass and scoring on a 7-yard run with 1:50 to go for his third touchdown of the game and give the Wildcats a 35-34 edge.
The Beavers did not give in as they put together a drive that culminated with six seconds to go as Soto and Jimerson connected again, this time on a 1-yard pass. On the ensuing conversion, the unlikeliest thing happened as Barefield came up with a fumble recovery, took it 94 yards and scored two points the other way for the Wildcats, leaving the score at 40-37.
Time ran out on the Wildcats on the following kickoff, giving the Beavers the victory.
After all was said and done, the Wildcats gained 337 yards of total offense, with all of it save Barefield’s 33-yard reception coming from their ground game.
The Beavers, by comparison, amassed 531 yards of total offense, with 330 rushing and 201 passing.
In terms of penalties called, the Wildcats were penalized 4 times for 50 yards and the Beavers were penalized 6 times for 35 yards.
With the Beavers utilizing the passing game to great effect, Kirchhoff praised his team for being able to do so.
“Anytime you can balance it up a bit, it helps,” said Kirchhoff. “I thought we were real efficient in throwing the ball. Just being able to get in the shotgun gives our kids confidence.”
This week the Beavers begin their District 16-A Division II schedule as they will be on the road to face the Woodsboro Eagles.
“Woodsboro’s been off to a rough start, they’re very young like we are,” said Kirchhoff. “They run a slot-t offense that’s built around running the ball. I’m looking for a tough game at Woodsboro. Hopefully we can go down there, take care of the football, continue to get better and come out of there with a win.”
Kickoff in Woodsboro is set for Friday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m.