BY JOSH WEIR
Forty-eight minutes of football wasn’t enough Friday in Smilek Stadium. The game of momentum swings and mud led to overtime.
It all came down to two inches of chewed up turf. Two inches that Northwest didn’t get.
Poland’s defensive interior dropped Northwest’s Ronnnie Beers just short of the goal line on a two-point conversion try, preserving a wild 42-41 overtime win for the Bulldogs.
“We were just hanging on and fighting,” Poland coach Mark Brungard said. “We made a play at the end. Northwest made so many plays to come back.”
Northwest scored with eight seconds left in regulation and converted a two-point conversion just to get to overtime.
After Poland scored in only three plays and added the extra-point kick, putting the Bulldogs up, 42-35, it was up to the Indians to answer.
Nick Riley hit Beers for 17 yards to convert a fourth-and-10. Three players later, Beers barreled in for a 1-yard TD run.
Northwest coach Vic Whiting is known as “Vegas Vic” amongst Indians fans, so there was little doubt he was going for the win right there.
Whiting put Beers in the wildcat. After taking the direct snap, Beers slammed into the right side of the line and was dropped short on the soggy field.
“We took our two best players, put them in the backfield and gave them the ball,” Whiting said. “We had a high snap and that disrupted the timing of the play. We weren’t able to get in.
“It was a great effort by our kids. We came up with plays when we needed. I’m real proud of them.”
Whiting never thought of kicking the extra point, mainly because he felt the Indians couldn’t stop Poland’s run game. The Bulldogs gained 279 of their 317 yards on the ground.
“They were big on the offensive line and they won the line of scrimmage on us,” Whiting said. “So our thing was if we were going to win, we were going to have to outscore them. We were right where we wanted to be.”
Beers rushed for four TDs and 41 yards on 17 carries, while catching nine passes for 70 yards. JC Pawlyk totaled 12 receptions for 154 yards and two TDs.
Despite a playing field that seemed better fit for a tractor pull than a football game, the Indians stayed with their five-receiver passing game and completed passes to seven different receivers.
Riley completed 30 of 50 passes for 280 yards, two TDs and no picks. The Indians also drew four first-half pass interference penalties on Poland that helped scoring drives.
Northwest led, 20-14, at the half.
Poland’s Jerry Lawman, a 5-foot-8, 185-pound senior, ran for 106 yards and four TDs on 24 carries. Teammate Tyler Evan, a 6-2, 178-pound sophomore, totaled 124 yards on just 13 carries for the Bulldogs, who didn’t throw a pass until late in the first half.
But quarterback Colin Reardon, a Miami (Ohio) recruit, still impacted the game. He scored on two second-half touchdowns runs — the second a 26-yarder with 2:30 left — in a game Poland felt was a must-win for its playoff chances.