Kearney stops Helias in overtime

By Scott Kendall PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: November 15, 2014 - 12:04 AM

The Kearney Bulldogs vs Helias Crusaders, both teams are 11-1 and both teams are looking to move on to the next round.

Kearney won the toss and chose to defer, giving the ball to the Crusaders to start the game. Both teams came up empty on their first possessions. On Helias’s second possession, they had things going. Jacob Storms ran the ball twice for 5-yards. On third and five, QB-Alex Faddoul hooked up with WR-Alex Werner for a 25-yard gain. Faddoul threw for another first down connecting with Weston Porter for 11-yards. Clayton Winter ran the ball four straight times for 17-yards. On third and six, Faddoul was sacked by Tanner Owen, forcing a fourth and long from Kearney’s 20-yard line. Helias decided to go for the field goal from 37-yards out. The field goal attempt by Sam Heckart was no good, giving the ball to Kearney on Helias’s 20-yard line.

Kearney would put together a huge drive, 11-plays, 80-yard drive capped off by Johnny Weidmaier pass/catch to Coalten Klenda for 39-yards. Reagan Frakes carried the ball 5-times for 23-yards on the drive. Logan Hinck ran the ball for a first down on a third and three that was big during the drive. The point after by Dawson Goepferich was good and Kearney struck first, leading 7-0, with 10:22 left in the first half.

Helias and Kearney exchange non-moving drives on their next possessions. Helias took over on their own 47-yard line from a Kearney punt. Faddoul & Werner hook up for a 19-yard reception and a Crusader first down. Winter & Faddoul ran the ball down to Kearney’s 15-yard line on 4 carries for 24-yards. Faddoul threw a strike to tight end, Hale Hentges for a 15-yard TD reception. The point after by Heckart was good and now the score was tied, 7-7 with 2:52 left in the half.

Kearney would start on their own 33-yard line. Frankes ran the ball three straight times for 30-yards. On the Bulldogs, 1st down, QB Weidmaier was sacked for a 5-yard loss. On the next play, Weidmaier and Klenda connect for 31-yards and a Bulldog 1st down. From 11-yards out, Jess Davis caught a pass from Weidmaier for the touchdown. The point after by Goepferich was good and Kearney took a 14-7 lead with 0:52 left in the half. These points were huge considering Kearney would receive the ball to start off the 2nd half.

But, Helias wasn’t done in the first half. The Crusaders would start on their own 21-yard line with 0:43 left in the half. Chase Bexten caught a 39-yard pass from Faddoul down to Kearney’s 40-yard line. Faddoul would find Kale Gerstner for a 9-yard gain. It was first and goal on Kearney’s 7-yard line. Faddoul tucks and runs the ball and gets down to the 2-yard line. Second and goal from the 2-yard line, Faddoul throws a pass to the left back side of the end zone, but it was incomplete. Third and goal with 0:04 left, what do you do? Go for it or kick the field goal and hopefully get at least some points on the board. But, Helias would go for it, hopefully those potential 3-points would not come back and bite them in the end, and they would not convert on the touchdown attempt. Kearney would go into the half with a 14-7 lead.

Kearney would start with the ball in the second half. Kearney would put together a 15-play, 65-yard drive that took 6:10, ultimately ending in a 9-yard TD pass/catch between Weidmaier & Klenda for their 2nd score on the night. During the drive, Frakes ran the ball 9-times for 44-yards. The point after by Goepferich was blocked, but Kearney was still in front 20-7.

Helias would start their next drive on their own 24-yard line. Helias would pick up two straight first downs, but the Crusaders would stall out after Faddoul was sacked by Bosler on another third and long. Kearney would also stall and had a three-and-out on their next possession. Helias needed to get back in the game but were having difficulty getting anything started. On the Crusaders next two possessions, Faddoul threw two interceptions to Gassman and Marcus Harris. With 6:04 left in the game, the Crusaders got exactly what they needed to get things going. Despite Faddoul getting sacked twice on Helias’s possession, Faddoul went 3-7 for 98-yards, 38-yards to Porter; 44-yards to Hentges & the 16-yard strike to Gerstner, the point after by Heckart was good, this score got Helias within 6-points with 4:08 left in the game.

For the last 2-3 minutes, I was watching a player, TJ Hagenhoff practice on-side kicks into a net. Now came the time for that practice to be put into play. On the kickoff, Hagenhoff kicked the top of the ball forcing the ball into the ground and popping the ball up. Helias was able to come up with the loose ball, recovered by Hentges on Kearney’s 35-yard line. Faddoul ran the ball three straight times for 15-yards. Kearney’s Tanner Owen sacked Faddoul for a 9-yard loss. On 3rd & 17, Hentges and Faddoul hooked up with the 29-yard pass/catch TD. Now the score was tied 20 all, pending the extra point. The extra-point from Hagenhoff was blocked, so the score stayed tied 20-20, 1:57 left in the game.

Kearney had 1:57 to get down the length of the field with zero timeouts. Weidmaier threw two incomplete passes in a row, but found Klenda for the 15-yard reception and a Bulldog first down. Frakes ran for a 6-yard gain, but with no timeouts the clock continued to run. Weidmaier and Klenda connected up once again, this time for 38-yard outstretched catch was down to the 1-yard line. First and goal from the 1-yard line with 0:17 left in the game. All Kearney needed to do was get the 1-yard TD run. On the snap, Weidmaier fumbled the snap and the ball was recovered by Helias. This game was going into overtime.

Helias would start first, on the 25-yard line. Faddoul ran the ball three times for 21-yards. It was 3rd and 6 on Kearney’s 9-yard line, Faddoul pass attempt to the right side was incomplete and this would bring up a fourth down and a big decision by Helias. Would Helias go for it or attempt the 23-yard field goal attempt. Seeing what Helias has done up to this point; not attempting the field goal to end the first half and having an extra point blocked. Coach Hentges goes for it and Faddoul’s pass to the left is incomplete. No points are scored by Helias and now Kearney will have their shot.

Kearney starts on the 25-yard line. Frakes runs the ball twice for 4-yards and Frakes gets another 2-yards on a reception. Kearney is now fourth and four from the 19-yard line. Goepferich has missed a field goal and had a point-after blocked, so does Greg Jones have confidence in his kicker? Jones, sends out Goepferich for the game winning 36-yard field goal. The snap was good, the place holder gets the ball down and Goepferich launches the ball through the uprights for the win. The crowd goes nuts and the Bulldogs storm the field.

What a game and what a way to end it. Two teams fighting tooth and nail in the freezing weather at a chance to play in the next round.

The Crusaders season was over at 11-2, but fought hard to the end and never gave up. Faddoul led the team with 279 passing yards, 3-passing TDs and 73 rushing yards as well. Hentges led the team with 110 receiving yards and 2-TDs. The other TD reception went to Gerstner.

The Bulldogs improve to 12-1 and move on to play again. Weidmaier led the way with 193 passing yards and three scores. Frakes ran the ball 32-times for 155 yards. Klenda had 5-catches for 132 yards and 2-TDs. Davis had the other receiving TD. A big part of the success for the game was the defense stepping up when needed. The defense had a total 7-sacks, 3.5 by Kyre Bosler; Gassman & Harris had the 2 picks.

The Bulldogs will now go on to play Webb City, who beat Harrisonville tonight, 35-0. Webb City has given up 19 total points in four games in the playoffs and have scored an average of 51 points a game. Kearney will have their hands full with Webb City, but if the defense can come up big again, they should have a chance to hand Webb City their first loss of the season. The winner of Kearney/Webb City will play in the Class 4 Championship.