|9/24/2013 10:31:00 AM ||Email this article Print this article |
|Oblong 13, Red Hill 12|
Defensive breakdown costs Salukis
OBLONG - For Red Hill High School's football team, the final memory of playing Oblong might likely be of missing tackles.
The Panthers' Brody Allen ran 80 yards for a touchdown through the Saluki defense with 3:03 to play Friday night, after taking a screen pass from Alec Jacobs. The play accounted for the winning points in the Panthers' 13-12 Little Illini Conference Eastern Division conquest of the Salukis.
It was a stunning finish to a game in which the Salukis (1-3, 1-1 LIC Eastern) controlled nearly from the start.
"I told the kids that the game is a game of blocking and tackling," second-year Red Hill coach Billy Gray said. "We blocked a little bit better tonight but the tackling was terrible. You can't win ballgames that way."
The game was the last in the foreseeable future between Red Hill and Oblong, as the Panthers are destined for the Little Okaw Valley Conference starting next season. If the teams never play again, the Salukis will finish with an 18-17 edge in the series that started in 1974 - the first year for Red Hill High School.
"It's a tough loss," Gray said. "The kids are crushed. After a loss like this, they should be. It's a game I feel like we should have won."
The Panthers forced a Red Hill punt with 3:20 remaining, and took over at their own 20. Oblong emptied the backfield and bunched four receivers to the right side of the formation, with Allen lined up alone on the left side.
Jacobs took the shotgun snap and fired quickly to the 6-1, 160-pound junior, who immediately got past a Red Hill defender. He ran for a few yards up the sideline, then cut back against the grain as Red Hill players scrambled to get an angle. Allen made a couple of defenders miss as he rolled 80 yards for the score without being touched.
To their credit, the Salukis, who took over at their own 19 with just 3:03 remaining, were able to march into scoring range.
Tristan Holtz carried three times to near midfield. Quarterback Dalton Murray then swept around end for a 26-yard game to the Oblong 24 with 1:30 remaining.
An illegal procedure penalty put Red Hill's backs against the wall. Two runs netted a total of two yards, and on third down Murray fired down the right sideline to junior Ryan Kolb, but the pass was broken up by Jacobs. On fourth down, Murray dropped to pass but was unable to rind a receiver. He scrambled in an attempt to get a first down, but fell a couple of yards short.
"The Illegal procedure penalty killed us," Gray said. "If not for that, (Murray) would have gained the first down on that run. Those five yards were really costly."
Red Hill's defense bent through the first three quarters, yielding yards both through the air and on the ground. Murray intercepted a pass to thwart Oblong on the opening drive of the game. It was his fifth interception in the last two weeks.
The Salukis also benefitted from poor punting on the part of the Panthers, including one punt that was blocked.
Red Hill finally drew first blood on a 15-yard pass from Murray to Holtz on third and goal from the 15 with 52 seconds to play in the opening half. The drive covered 39 yards in seven plays and took almost three minutes off the clock.
The halftime score remained 6-0 when the run for the two-point conversion failed.
Oblong had less than a minute to work with, but quickly moved 63 yards to the Red Hill 1-yard line. Jacobs completed three passes on the drive, and a pass interference penalty in the end zone gave the Panthers a final shot to score from the 2-yard line with the clock reading :01. The Panthers gave the ball to Kurtis Fleek, who was stuffed as he tried to score up the middle.
Red Hill extended its lead to 13-0 on its first possession of the second half. The Salukis marched 49 yards in 12 plays and stretched the lead to 13-0 when Murray's 1-yard dive capped the drive.
If the Salukis could have come through with a stop at that point, the game may have ended differently. But the Panthers responded by moving 47 yards for a touchdown in just four plays.
The Panthers were in a third-and-long situation, but Jacobs escaped what looked to be a sure sack and scrambled 26 yards for a score. The PAT by Hunter Goodwin pulled the host team to within 12-7.
Red Hill failed to take advantage of good field position on its next three possessions, as it punted each time.
The Panthers were running out of time when Jacobs and Allen produced what proved to be the game-winning play. Oblong was down to one timeout when it took over at its own 20 with 3:20 remaining.
The Panthers outgained Red Hill, 319-248. Red Hill rushed for 248 yards in the game, as Holtz (92 yards on 16 carries) and Murray (76 yards on 21 attempts) led the way.
Jacobs hit on 12 of 18 passes for 188 yards, while the Panthers gained 131 yards on the ground.
"Our game plan was to make them run the football," Gray said. "We knew they were good at passing and if they were going to beat us, we wanted them to do it with the run. I don't know that their running beat us as much as not tackling, but they did run the ball very well."
While the Panthers will put their 2-0 LIC Eastern Division mark on the line in their homecoming against Edwards County, the Salukis will host Palestine in what is slated to be their last meeting with the Pioneers.
Panthers 13, Salukis 12
Score by quarters
Red Hill 0 6 6 0 - 12
Oblong 0 0 7 6 - 13
First downs 15 17
by rushing 14 10
by passing 1 7
by penalty 0 0
Rushes-yards 53-213 31-131
Passing (C-A-I) 2-4-0 12-18-1
Passing yards 35 188
Total yards 248 319
Penalties-yards 5-19 2-25
Punts-average 5-32.8 4-12.3
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1
Possession 27:21 20:39
RH - Tristan Holtz, 15 pass from Dalton Murray (Run failed), :52, 2nd qtr. RH 6, O 0.
RH - Murray, 1 run (Run failed), 5:50, 3rd qtr. RH 12, O 0.
O - Alec Jacobs, 26 run (Hunter Goodwin kick), 4:00, 3rd qtr. RH 12, O 7.
O - Brody Allen, 80 pass from Jacobs (Kick failed), 3:03, 4th qtr. O 13, RH 12.
Rushing - Red Hill: Holtz 16-92, Murray 21-76 (TD), Blake Adams 11-29, Cole Westall 3-9, Garrett Harper 2-7. Oblong: Kurtis Fleek 8-38, Jacobs 10-24 (TD), Allen 7-63, Logan Goodwin 6-6.
Passing - Red Hill: Murray 2-4-0, 35 yards (TD). Oblong: Jacobs 12-18-1, 188 yards (TD).
Receiving - Red Hill: Ryan Kolb 1-20, Holtz 1-15 (TD). Oblong: Allen 3-98 (TD), Kyler Fear 3-42, Jared Mayhew 3-32, Fleek 2-12, Logan Goodwin 1-4.
Punting - Red Hill: 5-164, 32.8 avg. Oblong: Jacobs 4-49, 12.3 avg.
Kickoff returns - Red Hill Adams 2-35, Ramsaran 1-0. Oblong: Allen 1-33, Ian Sablone 1-13, Dalton Nobilt 1-0.
Interceptions - Red Hill: Murray 1-0.