Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tigers Set School Record with Biggest Comeback in Football History

Worth County got off to a promising start, fell into a 28-8 hole, and then set a school record by erasing it to beat Stanberry 44-42 Friday heading into the playoffs. With the win, they spared themselves a trip to Rock Port that was hanging over their heads throughout much of the year. Worth County finished behind Stanberry and Rock Port in point standings, but with the head to head victory, automatically got seeded ahead of Stanberry. They play the winner of Stanberry and North/West Nodaway on October 28th at Worth County. Game time is 7 pm.

Stanberry got the ball to start off, but ran into trouble when Tristin Stoll was called for facemask while fighting for extra yardage. They were forced to punt after getting a first down and the ensuing kick was shanked and traveled only five yards, setting up Worth County’s first score as the ball went out of bounds at the Stanberry 26. A horsecollar penalty on one of the Bulldog players moved the ball to the 13. Worth County lost two yards in three plays, but Ryan McClellan, starting at quarterback in place of Cade Allee (concussion), threw a strike to Wade Rush, who beat Brad Hailey into the left corner of the end zone for Worth County’s first score. Isaac Alarcon slipped off a tackler and dove into the end zone to make it 8-0 with 7:13 left.

Caleb Parman’s kick went into the end zone and Stanberry got the ball at their own 15. Trey Schieber got a first down off a screen pass and a fumble from Schieber bounded forward and into the arms of Cole Craig for nine more yards. From there, Cory Luke ate Worth County alive for much of the remainder of the half as he bounced outside for 14 on one play thanks to poor tackling, and went on jaunts of 7 and 20 before Caleb Parman saved a touchdown at the Tiger 1. A fumble set Stanberry back to the 4, but then Schieber rumbled in as the tackling was non-existent for Worth County during that series.  Stanberry was flagged for helping the runner forward and then Stoll was flagged for a helmet to helmet hit. Finally, Ryan McClellan broke up an extra point pass in the end zone to keep Worth County in front 8-6 with 3:24 left in the first.

Worth County struggled with its snapping game for the entire first half, and an errant snap buried them on their own one on the next possession. A short kick gave Stanberry the ball on the Tiger 21 and Schieber converted a fourth and two at the 13 and Luke once again fooled everyone with a sweep down the left side with 10:56 left in the second quarter. Brad Hailey caught a pass to make it 14-8.
Once again, a pair of bad snaps gave Stanberry good field position at the Tiger 35 and once again, Luke fooled everyone as he sprinted in uncontested into the end zone with 8:58 left. He threw a pass to Cole Craig for the extra points to make it 22-8.

The avalanche did not stop there as yet another bad snap forced a three and out and once again, Luke victimized Worth County as he scrambled 12 yards on third and long for a first down to the Tiger 24. A facemask put the ball on the 10 and on third and goal at the Tiger 4, Luke fooled everyone again with a sweep down the left side with 2:15 left to make it 28-8.

But from there on out, Worth County started to find its footing. Stanberry buried them at their own 15 with the ensuing kick, but on their first play from scrimmage, Ryan McClellan found Caleb Parman over the middle and he outraced everyone down the right sideline for a scare. Worth County faked a reverse to Parman on the extra point and Isaac Alarcon dove in for the two points to make it 28-16 with 2:01 left. On Stanberry’s first play from scrimmage, Drake Kinsella hit Stoll hard, the ball popped free, and Ryan McClellan scooped and scored with 1:49 left to make it 28-22.

Worth County had every reason to hang their heads after the ensuing play as a helmet to helmet penalty following an unsuccessful onside kick attempt put the ball on the Tiger 25. This time, it was Stoll who broke free with 1:01 left and Luke ran in the extra points to make it 36-22. Worth County had a chance to answer after Caleb Parman caught another long pass from Ryan McClellan, but a phantom holding penalty, in which nobody from Worth County was even remotely near the play, brought it back to their own 37.

But they got the ball to start the third quarter. They were faced with third and long, but Ryan McClellan scrambled for a first down to the 40.

All of a sudden, Isaac Alarcon, who had been boxed in throughout the first half, found some daylight as he ripped off gains of 12 and 24 yards down to the Bulldog 4. An offsides penalty put it on the two and two cracks from Wade Rush got Worth County into the end zone. Ryan McClellan got a block from Drake Kinsella and cut back into the end zone with 9:28 left in the third to make it 36-30.

Stanberry went three and out on its next possession and Isaac Alarcon got a 17 yard run off a block from Wade Rush to the Bulldog 37 for a first down. Another six yarder plus a helmet to helmet hit on Stanberry put the ball on the 15. On the next play, it turned into a busted play as it was designed to go to the right, but there were black shirts everywhere. But Ryan McClellan improvised and reversed his field down the left side for a score with 6:17 left to tie it at 36. Stanberry pushed Caleb Parman in the end zone as Worth County was trying to throw him a pass, but the referee was scrambling to get out of the way and didn’t see the interference and the game remained tied at 36.

Stanberry went three and out again as Worth County did a much better job of covering Luke than they did in the first half. On one play, Wade Rush totally disregarded Trey Schieber, and dropped Luke for a loss of three. Worth County got the ball back and Isaac ran for a first down, but they were stalled at the 19. Instead of kicking it away, Worth County tried to fake punt and it fooled nobody as Isaac Alarcon ran into a wall of black shirts at his own 23. That set up Stanberry’s final score as Schieber’s counter got a first down to the 4. Isaac Alarcon nearly stripped Luke and took off the other way for a score, but he was ruled stood up before Alarcon could make his play. That was similar to another near-miss by Alarcon in 8th grade, when he tried to strip one of the Stanberry backs and butterfingered it before he could take off for a score. Luke got into the end zone with 11:14 left to put Stanberry back up 42-36, but on an option play, Drake Kinsella and Caleb Parman combined to stop Stoll a yard short of the end zone for a critical stop.

It looked like it wouldn’t matter as Worth County got its next punt blocked by Elroy Anderson and Stanberry had a short field to work with at the Tiger 24 with a chance to go up two scores. But then Worth County made the first of two successful goal line stands. Luke scrambled for 16 down to the Tiger 7 and Schieber plowed ahead for 5 to the Tiger 1 for third and goal. But then Colton Wilmes and Isaac Alarcon combined to drop Schieber for a loss back to the 3 and a screen pass fooled nobody as Luke came under a heavy rush and his pass misfired.

The long field did not faze Worth County as Alarcon’s first down run got Worth County out of the hole at the 14. Ryan McClellan picked up two more and then Isaac Alarcon bounced to the left side and found nothing but daylight ahead as he scampered for a 64 yard score to tie it up with 4:42 left in the game. Ryan McClellan faked the reverse to Caleb Parman and cut back to the middle for a score to put Worth County up 44-42.

There was a heartstopping moment as Worth County elected to kick deep and Clayton Stoll nearly broke one; had he not stepped out of bounds at the 28, he might have gone all the way as he had a step on Worth County’s final defender. Worth County seemingly stopped Stanberry but a horsecollar gave them new life at the 40. Stanberry, which normally runs two tight ends and runs it at you, spread it out for the first time all night and Cory Luke found some daylight 21 yards on a scramble down to the 19.

Stanberry elected to take time off the clock and leave Worth County with as little time as possible to counter. Luke scrambled again for eight more to the 11, picked up three more on a sneak for a first down, and picked up two more to the six before meeting Devin Jackson. Continuing to spread it out, they tried a jet sweep with Schieber, but the play, which Pattonsburg had burned Worth County with, was blown up by Isaac Alarcon and a swarm of white shirts back to the 8 with 1:11 left.

Luke took a shot into the end zone, trying to exploit Mason Hawk, normally a defensive end. But the tall junior sealed off the intended receiver and batted the ball away, setting up one more try. Once again, Luke dropped back to pass and started to scramble, something that had picked him up all night. But this time, Devin Jackson got loose from his blocker and had his finest moment as a Tiger as he dragged down Luke at the 9 to give Worth County the ball back on downs with 56 seconds left.
Worth County still needed to make a play to kill the clock as Stanberry had two timeouts. Isaac Alarcon ran for six on the first play, but was dropped for a loss of four back to the 11 on the next as Stanberry used its last timeout. But this time, Ryan McClellan faked a handoff to Alarcon, and as the black shirts were swarming to stop Alarcon and force Worth County to punt, McClellan dove ahead for a first down to the 20 to finally kill the clock.

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