• Last modified 639 days ago (Nov. 12, 2020)


And then there was 1

Hillsboro loses, Goessel wins in playoff thrillers

Staff writer

Hillsboro and Goessel both found themselves in exciting playoff games Friday. Only Goessel was able to win its matchup, continuing as the county’s last football team.

The odds were stacked against Hillsboro early, visiting a Garden Plain team that only lost one game all season.

The Trojans put up a fight but fell 25-20 to the Owls.

Hillsboro scored one touchdown through three quarters, but Garden Plain had just one touchdown all game.

However, several field goals by the Owls meant Hillsboro was down 25-7 by early in the third quarter.

Frank Wichert intercepted a pass toward the end of the third quarter, which Hillsboro turned into a touchdown just after the fourth quarter started. Facing fourth down, Matthew Potucek completed a touchdown to Duncan Duell, pulling the score to 25-13.

The tide appeared to turn in the Trojans’ favor, with Garden Plain pinned at its own 15-yard line on the kickoff and unable to make it past midfield before punting.

A fumble by Jamari Harris and an errant pitch play by Potucek gave Hillsboro back-to-back scares. The team maintained possession on both plays but ended up in another difficult fourth down.

Hillsboro opted to go deep. The pass fell incomplete, but the Trojans benefited thanks to a pass interference call that gained them a new set of downs.

They were saddled by a holding penalty that set them back to the 17-yard line, but Potucek again converted on fourth down with a touchdown pass to Duell, reaching a score of 25-20.

Hillsboro found itself on fourth down again with 30 seconds left in the fame and driving down the field.

This time the Trojans’ luck had run out. Potucek fired a pass close to the first-down line, but the receiver was tackled five yards short, and Hillsboro lost possession.

A large amount of Garden Plain’s offensive success was thanks to its running backs, with one running 30 times for 200 yards and the other 10 times for 70 yards.

Goessel victorious
in lights-out 2OT game

Big plays allowed the Bluebirds to score first Friday at Pratt-Skyline, but Goessel still needed two overtimes to secure a 54-48 victory that literally was “lights-out.”

Both teams scored on their first possessions, but Goessel prevented the Thunderbirds from scoring their two-point conversion. That gave the Bluebirds an early 8-6 lead.

Pratt-Skyline went ahead 14-8 and attempted an onside kick, but Kacen Smith caught it and skirted 41 yards for a Goessel touchdown.

The teams kept trading scores, but Goessel opened a 34-22 lead before half thanks to a fumble recovered for a score on special teams, and a 15-yard touchdown catch by Nate Zogleman with 30 seconds left in the half.

The home team scored the only point of the third quarter, and opened the fourth quarter with another score to take back a 36-34 lead.

The teams again traded scores, including a 12-yard scamper by Goessel’s Luke Wiens. They maintained the trend even into overtime.

A major change came in the second overtime, with stadium lights going out right after the Bluebird defense held Pratt-Skyline from scoring three yards from the end zone. Goessel took advantage when the lights came back on, driving nearly 100 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Goessel is one of eight teams left in its playoff bracket and will have a home game at 6 p.m. Friday against Hoxie.

Reporter Delbert Peters made contributions to this story.

Last modified Nov. 12, 2020