Lincoln edges Mid Buchanan

By Brandon Zenner News-Press Now
Posted: November 24, 2018 - 2:38 PM

With a clutch fourth-down touchdown pass to Caleb Kirschner pulling his team within one point of Lincoln in Saturday’s Class 1 semifinal, Mid-Buchanan coach Aaron Fritz had no doubt of the play call to follow.

With the right arm of Javan Noyes delivering the strike to pull the Dragons within 14-13 with under one minute to play, Fritz put it on his sophomore quarterback to deliver Mid-Buchanan to a state title game. On a potential go-ahead two-point conversion, Noyes sprinted ahead two steps and leapt into the air.

The ball went in the direction of senior Riley Brill, though Lincoln’s Bo Kroenke cut off the pass and held the Dragons out of the end zone, downing Mid-Buchanan by a score of 14-13.

“That’s gonna be a long-debated call going for two right there, and that’s on me," Fritz said. "I’d do it again, but dang — it just didn’t work out.”

Mid-Buchanan (9-5) concludes the program’s best season in history, which included the school’s first semifinal appearance and most wins. Lincoln (13-1) advances to face Hayti in the Class 1 Show-Me Bowl at 3 p.m. Saturday at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri.

The attempt at a go-ahead two-point try came after minutes of tense football by both sides. Mid-Buch’s previous drive ended on a turnover on downs inside the 10-yard line.

Lincoln followed up by milking time off the clock with a third-down conversion and baiting Mid-Buch to hop offsides on fourth-and-2. The following fourth down, Mid-Buch held strong to get the ball back with under 3 minutes to play.

Noyes then found Brill on a pass of more than 20 yards to get into Lincoln territory, though an unnecessary roughness penalty brought the ball back.

Two plays later, Lincoln lineman Tanner Bays was ejected for a blow to the head of Noyes. The Dragons then completed a third down when Noyes found Brill, who was held without a target in the first half.

After failing to gain yardage on the next three plays, Noyes bought time with his feet and tossed a pass to the back right corner of the end zone. The ball was out of reach of Lane Ellison, but Kirschner was wide open and remained inbounds to give the Dragons a chance.

“Probably one of the most proud moments I’ve ever had coaching. We could’ve easily quit after that penalty, and we didn’t. I thought we had all the momentum after that catch,” Fritz said.

Mid-Buch dropped overtime games to East Buchanan and Hamilton during the regular season, and Fritz was given the green light to try and seal the game in regulation.

“It’s not a secret we didn’t do well in overtime this year, and I just didn’t wanna put us through that,” Fritz said. “I made the call. We had that in all season for a two-point conversion. It just didn’t work.”

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