8/24 7:45 @
Week #1 vs.Fairbury
(Prairie Central) 1-0
Fumbles Hurt Bulldogs
Fairbury (Lewis Field) - With a shotgun style spread passing offense, you wouldn't expect to see a game wind down to the final minute with the score just 12-7, but then again, you normally don't see two teams playing what most likely could be the deciding game for the conference title in week one either.
With a steady rain coming down for most of the first half of the game on Friday, the battle for supremacy in the Corn Belt was at the forefront of this game between Mahomet-Seymour & Prairie Central.
The winner of this game would most likely be the front runner for the title or at least the biggest challenge to conference foe Pontiac.
So with a 12-7 lead, it was no surprise that with 11 minutes left in the game Mahomet-Seymour head coach Tom Shallenberger was going to play it a little more on the conservative side. The Bulldogs who would take possession on a Steven Fetzer (DB 5'10 170 sr.) interception, would work the clock and ground the ball down the field.
Fetzers interception had the Bulldogs starting a drive deep in their own territory. Through consistent running they would soon find themselves pressing up against the red zone of the Hawks.
But, a fumble at the line of scrimmage would turn the ball back over to the Hawks on their 34 yard line with 7:30 left in the game. The Bulldog defense, not happy to be back on the field, stopped the Hawks cold. Forcing them to go 4 & out, with a tackle for a loss & a sack, giving them a 4th & 15 punting situation.
Once again the Bulldogs would work the ground game and run the clock down, but once again they would fumble and Prairie Central would recover.
With 3:26 to go, the Hawks went into action with their passing game. After getting a 1st down off of a pass interference penalty. The Hawks would then go 4 & out as they turned the ball over on downs, when QB Jerid Coleman (6'1 175 jr.) would go 0 for 3 passing & was sacked by Jeremy Ochs (DL 5'11 245 sr.) for the third time on the night.
Even though the rain had let up, Mahomet-Seymour would fumble one last time, and this one would prove to be fatal.
J.T. Zimmerman (LB 5'11 185 jr.) would put a bone crushing hit on running back Jared Bosch (6' 175 sr.) who almost looked to be knocked out. Bosch lost the ball and once again a Hawk, Derrick Nissen (6'5 235 sr.) was there to scoop it up, this time on the Bulldogs' 26 yard line.
A Coleman pass to receiver Michael Seese (5'9 175 sr.) for 19 yards would put them 7 yards out with just over a minute left in the game. Coleman would then hit Phillip Short (TE 6'1 180 jr.) in the front corner of the endzone for the go ahead score.
Coleman failed on what may have been a botched play on the 2 point conversion afterwards. Leaving the Hawks with a 1 point margin with 54 second left in the game.
The Bulldogs roared back though, charging their way down the field after the kick off. Only to be stopped at the 19th on a 4th & 1 situation with :12 seconds left.
Shallenberger called in Fetzer & the field goal unit to try for it's 3rd 3 pointer of the night. This one a 37 yarder. Fetzer had made a chip shot field goal earlier & a 30 yarder to end the half.
With the Bulldog bench on their knees holding hands and with an erie silence falling over the stadium, place holder Brandon Rose called for the snap and Fetzer put his cleat to the ball, kicking it from the left hash mark. The Hawks crashed through the line and charged the kicker, but the ball sailed pass and headed for the goal post.
Fetzer's kick had the distance, but would go slightly to the left, as the noise from the Hawks sideline almost instantly filled the void of silence.
Coleman passed for 17 of 27 for 123 yards with a TD & INT. Head coach Brian Hassett, wouldn't single out any player in the game as being the difference. Only saying "It's a great win for our program. It was really a team effort tonight."
If one had to single out a player though it might be Nissen. Tied for the team lead in tackles for the game with 7, he also came up with 2 huge fumble recoveries.
As far as where this victory over last season's Corn Belt champs puts the team, Hassett added "It's a big win. But we've got a tough game next week. So it's a win tonight and we're going to go on from there."
Mahomet-Seymours lone touchdown came on a 77 yard run by Bosch in the 2nd quarter.
by Vincent Johnson
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