By tim cleveland
Trailing by three points and facing a third-and-goal at the Warren JFK 3-yard line with 9 seconds to play Saturday night, it looked like an easy decision for South Range coach Dan Yeagley to kick a field goal and force overtime.
That’s what it looked like the Raiders would do, but JFK called a timeout in an effort to ice kicker Tyler Rothbauer. Given a chance to think about it, Yeagley put the ball in the hands of senior halfback Billy Goodall, who went wide around right end for the score with 5 seconds remaining, giving South Range a 34-30 victory at Mollenkopf Stadium.
“It was rhino read gap right,” Goodell said of the game-winning play. “Either the quarterback can give it off to me on a jet sweep or he can hold it and go up the middle. He gave it to me and I was able to get the corner.”
Yeagley said he couldn’t take all the credit for deciding to eschew the field goal and go for the win.
“It was multiple coaches making decisions,” he said. “They stuffed us on the 1-yard line [on the previous play]. They’re a great team. They stuffed us on that play and we started thinking, easy field goal. We can go ahead and go into overtime but when they called timeout, they were regrouping while we had a chance to regroup. Our kids executed that [winning play] very well. It was a great effort and a great game.”
Taking the ball on their own 20, the Raiders (1-0) went on an 80-yard, 17-play drive for the winning score. Ryan Miller hit Goodall on a fourth-and-6 play from their own 24 to save the game, then Goodall took a 9-yard pass to convert a third down to the Kennedy 27.
Overall, Goodall accounted for 48 yards on the drive and 166 overall.
“Billy played very well,” Yeagley said. “Our offensive line had a great game. We were able to pound them a little bit up front and move the ball.”
It was a heartbreaking defeat for Kennedy (0-1), which rallied from a 27-15, fourth-quarter deficit to take a 30-27 lead. Junior quarterback Michael Roscoe lead the Eagles down the field, hitting receiver Jacob Coates on 23- and 25-yard passes on the drive, the second bringing JFK to within 27-22 with 5:24 to play.
After Dante Munno recovered the ensuing onside kick at the South Range 38, Kennedy faced a fourth and 10. Roscoe connected with Zach Watt for 15 yards to keep the drive alive, then Carl Zallow went in from 12 yards two plays later for the touchdown and a 30-27 lead with 3:30 left.
After losing to Kennedy the prior two seasons, Goodall was thrilled to win against the Eagles in his final chance against them.
“Last two years we lost openers,” he said. “Both thrillers and it came down to a thriller tonight. Just great confidence boost going into Week 2.”