REEDS SPRING, MO--Springfield Catholic kicked a field goal with twelve seconds to go, defeating the previously unbeaten state-ranked Reeds Spring Wolves, 17-14. It was a tightly contested Big 8 Conference matchup, with both defenses making big plays.
The first half, neither offense could get things rolling, as they struggled in the wet conditions. It wasn't until the second half that either team was able to get on the scoreboard.
Tyson Riley set the tone in the second half when he took the first play from the scrimmage 77-yards for a touchdown, giving Catholic the lead, 7-0. Reeds Spring thought they had answered Catholic with a touchdown of their own, but a holding penalty negated the touchdown, forcing them to replay the down. Reeds Spring used a little trickery to score their first touchdown of the game when Cole Watson hauled in a half back option pass from Cody Hughes for 69-yards, tying the game at 7-7.
In the fourth quarter, Catholic senior Nick Crites scored from six yards out, putting the Irish up 14-7. Reeds Spring would answer when Hughes scampered in from 11-yards out with 4:44 left to go in the game. The Wolves' defense thought they had held the Irish at bay on a fourth and one play at midfield but instead were called for a horse-collar tackle penalty, giving Catholic the ball with 2:40 remaining in the game. With 1:13 still on the clock, Catholic converted a key fourth down, keeping their drive alive. Catholic called a time out when they got the ball to the 15-yard line with 12.8 seconds to go, setting up the field goal for senior Logan Brock.
"I absolutely expected the most out of Reeds Spring," said Brock. "They are one heck of a team. The coaches were telling me at halftime, 'Logan, you're going to win it' and I knew it was going to be on a field goal. That's what I do best. I was thinking that I'm going to put this thing through the uprights and win against Reeds Spring. That's all we've wanted all week and the dream came true. It feels absolutely amazing."
Brock nailed it through the uprights, giving Catholic the 17-14 lead.
With a squib kick off with no return, Reeds Spring was in desperation mode and Catholic took advantage and intercepted an errant pass with 9 seconds to go, sealing the victory.
Riley, who was injured last week, wasn't sure how he was going to hold up in the contest.
"I'm glad we could come out with a win," said Riley. "The run, the run was working a lot. In the first half they really stopped us with it. In the second half I think we wore them down and we were able to get some long runs and we were able to be on the field. Man, it feels good to win but we've got a lot more ahead of us. Our offensive coordinator told Logan it was going to come down to him, and it did."
Springfield Catholic head coach Steve Hancock, on the play of Riley, said "I don't know if he's 100% or not, I think he was hurting a little bit, but we finished and he battled hard. He picked up some great gains for us. Like always, he made the play on offense and makes a great play on defense. That helps us win the ballgame."
Reeds Spring head coach Lance Gosch was missing two key offensive linemen due to injuries but would not make excuses.
"Big play, good play, bad play, you've got to forget about it and go on to the next one," said Gosch. "I thought our kids did that, battled right to the end. You can't ask any more than that from kids, they battled their hearts out. Catholic made a couple more plays than we did, so that was that. We've got some kids dinged up but we're fine. I thought we had some kids step up who played well. We'll get some kids back. This time of year everybody's kind of dinged up here and there, but we're fine. So it's about putting this one behind us and getting back to work next week."
Hancock was in good spirits after his team defeated the undefeated Wolves.
"Reeds Spring is a very good football team, very well coached, so it feels good to beat them whether they are undefeated or not," said Hancock. "It sets us up and helps us stay in the race for the conference championship, and that's what we want. I was hoping that we could stay close defensively and we could put some points on the board. I was hoping to put a little more points on the board than we did but as long as we are ahead at the end, that's what counts. The kids battled and battled, did the right things, and we ended up with three more points than they did."