With about four minutes to go in Friday's football game between Greencastle and Owen Valley, the outcome remained in doubt. The Tiger Cubs were leading 17-14 and putting together an impressive drive, but the Patriots were right on their heels.
From that point, though, GHS left no doubt in anyone's mind. The Tiger Cubs put on a clinic, scoring 27 points in less than 2:30 on their way to a 44-14 win in the regular season finale.
"That's great momentum. These kids didn't give up. (Owen Valley) kind of laid it on the plate for us and we took it," said GHS coach Mike Meyer. "I feel so darn good, so happy for the seniors. We have a great group of seniors. We have achieved our goal of winning the last three. We have sectional coming in; we're coming back here. It's all on the plate for us. We're playing pretty good football right now."
Although the last three touchdowns were the eye catchers, the real difference in they game was the long, clock-eating drive that Greencastle embarked upon early in the fourth quarter.
After a Patriot (4-5, 3-2 WIC) turnover on downs, GHS took possession at their own 18 with 11:38 to play in the game. Greencastle kept it on the ground throughout the drive, mixing in runs by running backs Patrick Richardson and Jesse Ford with those of quarterback Jordan Hickam and wide receiver Ashton Marshall.
All told, the possession covered 82 yards in 16 plays and 8:16.
Richardson was the real workhorse of the drive, running five times for 42 yards, including the last nine for a touchdown. The score and Buzz Deer's extra point made it 24-14 with 3:22 to play.
"To me, that drive was what won the ballgame. All this other stuff was just icing on the cake," Meyer said. "We went right down the field, did what we wanted to do and ate up a lot of clock. To me, that's crunch time and we held up in the crunch time."
From there, things got weird.
On the next OV possession, the Patriots got as far as their own 35 before a holding penalty and two sacks penned them back at the four-yard line. After two incompletions, they turned it over on downs with 1:56 to play.
Meyer made the honorable call, putting his team in the victory formation for Hickam to take a knee. However, Patriot coach Duane Potts called a timeout.
The move made little sense in situation and left Meyer with no choice but to run his offense. After a procedure penalty set GHS back, Hickam ran the ball in from 10 yards out, making it 31-14.
Two plays into OV's next drive, Kyle Buchanan had Jeff Wilson all but sacked when the QB fumbled. Jacob Wright scooped up the ball and rumbled 40 yards for a touchdown. After a blocked PAT, it was 37-14.
But the Patriots still wanted more. On the very first play of the next drive, Wilson hurled the ball down field, but Richardson caught it in stride and took it the other way for a 50-yard score.
The Deer kick brought the game to its final score of 44-14 with 58 seconds to play,
The final Patriot possession passed without incident.
But big plays were the order of the day for GHS. After a 3-and-out on their first possession of the game, Owen Valley punter Corbin Knapp mishandled the snap, recovered but found Buchanan charging hard. The pressure forced a vertical punt that Buchanan picked up and returned it to the Patriot two-yard line.
Marshall punched it in on the first play and Deer's kick made it 7-0 with 10:15 to play in the first.
Greencastle put together a nice drive late in the first quarter that ended in a 32-yard Deer field goal on the second play of the second period. They led 10-0 with 11:55 until the break.
On the next drive, Greencastle forced another OV punt. Although it got away this time, Marshall took the return at midfield and took it back to the 14. Two plays later, he finished the deal, catching a 12-yard pass from Hickam.
The score was 17-0 with 8:43 to play in the second.
Buchanan finished with the punt return, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
"Kyle and that whole defense had a great day. I'm just happy for these kids," Meyer said. "The seniors played out their wazoo for this ballgame. I'm just happy for the kids. We had a lousy start of the season, and we have just finished strong. I couldn't be more pleased."
Owen Valley made the game interesting in the second and third quarters, as Wilson scored on a one-yard run with 33 seconds remaining in the second and then found Justin Mosier on a 19-yard TD strike at the 8:56 mark of the third.
But it was the long fourth-quarter drive that took the wind from their sails and the crazy finish that put it totally out of reach.
Now the Tiger Cubs face Southmont (4-5, 3-4 Sagamore) in the opening round of sectional. The Mounties have also won three straight after a rough start. They completed their regular season on Friday by defeating rival Crawfordsville 21-14.
"They're going to be a good football team. They're feeling good about themselves right now, and it's going to be another good football game. Anything now is gravy, so we're pretty happy," Meyer concluded.
Greencastle hosts Southmont at 7 p.m. next Friday in their Sectional 21 opener.
|Owen Valley||0 6 8 0 -- 14|
|Greencastle||7 10 0 27 -- 44|
GHS -- Marshal 2 run (Deer kick) 8:07
GHS -- Deer 32 FG 11:55
GHS -- Marshal 12 pass from Hickam (Deer kick) 8:43
OV -- Wilson 2 run (Warner kick failed) 0:33
OV -- Mosier 19 pass from Wilson (Hershberger run) 8:56
GHS -- Richardson 9 run (Deer kick) 3:22
GHS -- Hickam 10 run (Deer kick) 1:41
GHS -- Wright 40 fumble return (Deer kick failed) 1:13
GHS -- Richardson 50 interception return (Deer kick) 0:58
Owen Valley (4-5, 3-2 WIC):
Rushing (38 carries, 89 yards) -- Hershberger 22-56, Wilson 14-(-5), Shedd 7-39
Passing (12-25-1-1, 181 yards) -- Wilson 12-25, 1 TD, 1 INT, 181 yds
Receiving (12 catches, 181 yards) -- Warner 6-91, Tarrence 3-35, Hershberger 1-29, Shedd 1-20, Mosier 1-19
Greencastle (5-4, 4-2 WCC):
Rushing (41 carries, 186 yards) -- Hickam 24-92, Marshal 9-21, Richardson 8-63, Ford 2-10
Passing (3-4-1-1, 39 yards) -- Hickam 3-4, 1 TD, 1 INT, 39 yds
Receiving (3 catches, 39 yards) -- Marshall 3-39
Next game -- Greencastle hosts Southmont (4-5, 3-4 Sagamore) at 7 p.m. next Friday in the opening round of Sectional 21.