Valley Falls Dragons win double OT game over Oskaloosa
Oskaloosa tailback Jake Buscher escapes a tackle by Valley Falls defender Brock Watson in the first quarter of Friday night’s double overtime win by Valley Falls. Buscher led all rushers in the game with 174 yards and two touchdowns.
Story and photo by Dennis Sharkey
Like two heavyweight prize fighters the Valley Falls Dragons and the Oskaloosa Bears continued to punch one another Friday night until one team was barely left standing.
A two-point conversion catch by Tyler Johnson in the second overtime was the difference in the Dragons’ 48-46 thrilling win over the Bears in Oskaloosa.
Dragons’ Head Coach Rod Bunde said after the game that his team’s game plan was to hold onto the ball, which was a concern coming into the game.
“We made mistakes earlier in the year turning the ball over, and going into this game we said we cannot make any turnovers,” Bunde said. “Oskaloosa did a great job of moving the ball but I thought our guys did a great job of playing mistake-free on the offensive side of the ball.
“It seemed like we were going back and forth and back and forth,” he added. “It was just a spooky deal you didn’t know how it was going to end up.”
Both teams had chances to win the game in regulation time, however, both team’s defenses stood up at the right time.
With 10:42 left in the fourth quarter the Bears tied the game at 34 on a 22-yard touchdown run by Dalton Ricketts but the two-point conversion failed. Valley Falls took over on their own 33-yard line.
On first down the Bears’ defense got pressure on Dragons’ quarterback Alex Lederer when Mark Newell sacked him for a one-yard loss. However, the Dragons went to their running game and moved the ball down to the Bears’ 24-yard line, but Lederer’s pass on fourth-down fell, turning the ball over on downs to the Bears with just over six minutes left in regulation. It was the first time in the game that either defense stopped the other team and every possession up to that point resulted in a touchdown.
The Bears got the ball at their own 24-yard line. The Bears’ offense moved the ball down the feild but the drive was stopped at the eight-yard line when time ran out.
Valley Falls got the ball first in overtime and used two plays to score a touchdown on a nine-yard run by Britten Grollmes. Lederer’s pass on the two-point conversion sailed over his reciever’s head for a 40-34 lead.
The Bears answered in three plays with a Levi Wade one-yard touchdown run. With a chance to win the game the Bears lined up for the two-point conversion but a flag was thrown for a false start. Bears’ tailback Jake Buscher came up one yard short of the conversion.
In the second overtime, Lederer hurdled a defender to plunge into the end zone to lead 46-40. This time Lederer connected with Tyler Johnson for a 48-40 lead.
The Bears needed a one-yard touchdown run on fourth-down to keep the Bears’ hopes alive, however, Wade’s attempt to tie the game fell one yard short, handing the Dragons the win.
“I’m proud of my kids,” an extremely disappointed Bears’ Head Coach Scott Whaley said after the game. “They should be proud of their efforts, they just came up a play short.”
In the win Lederer unofficially completed nine of his 12 passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns. Lederer also led the Dragons with 99 yards on 11 carries and two rushing touchdowns. Tyler Johnson led all Dragons receivers with three catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor Anderson and Grollmes also had a rushing touchdown each.
For the Bears Buscher led all rushers with 174 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns. Wade had 137 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns. Mark Newell had 89 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. Quarterback Adam Bowser had a rough night. Bowser threw six passes but did not complete one. Three times he overthrew a wide open Wade.
For the two teams it was their first taste of district play and both teams viewed the game as important. For the Dragons it means a fresh start heading toward post-season after a disappointing 1-3 start. For the Bears it means going back to the drawing board after a 3-1 start.
“We got a lot to build on from this game,” Whaley said. “We just got to regourp and realize that we’ve got more games to play.”
The Bears step out of district play next week when they visit Maur Hill/Mt. Academy while the Dragons continue district play at Immaculata.
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