By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Playing to a 6-6 tie after 48 minutes, the Chase County Longhorns and the Perkins County Plainsmen would go into overtime to decide the game.
The Longhorns had to settle for a 26-yard field goal on the opening OT possession.
Two plays later, Plainsman quarterback Michael York got outside the Longhorn defense to score from eight yards out for the win.
The 9-12 loss leaves the Longhorns with an unexpected record of 3-4 and took them out of contention for the C2-10 district title.
The Plainsmen all but wrapped up the district title with the OT win.
The Longhorns can insure their berth in the 32-team playoffs by defeating a 4-3 Bayard team here this Friday.
However, they will go into the game with the loss of another starter.
Offensive and defensive back senior Paul Gaschler saw his season come to an end Friday with a broken collarbone.
Two other starters, Charlie Haarberg and Steven Fish, suffered season-ending injuries as well earlier this season.
Coach Dan Lenners said the status of three other starters remains up in the air. Misael Lopez hurt a shoulder, Misael Garcia a knee, and Michael May with bruised ribs.
That’s going to force Lenners to make some changes on both sides of the ball.
He revealed one major change Friday night when he moved Alex Strand from quarterback to running/blocking back and Tanner Stromberger for the line to the fullback position.
Sophomore Kale Gockley came in to take over quarterback duties and turned in a strong game, Lenners said.
“He was asked to do an awfull lot,” Lenners said, “and ran the offense really well.”
Lenners said he made the change to bring some blocking into backfield for his tailbacks—Garcia and May.
The unveiling of the new formation led to a touchdown on the Longhorns’ third possession after Garcia intercepted a York pass and returned it to the Plainsmen 18.
What proved crucial in the game was a missed extra point kick after that touchdown.
Lenners took full responsibility for the situation in which kicker Grant Lenners didn’t have time to get his kicking shoe on before the kick.
“I should have called time-out there to make sure he got his shoe on,” the coach said.
While that was crucial, Lenners said the Longhorns still battle with completing assignments. That was especially evident on the defensive side of the ball, he added.
Two field goals for Plainsmen
Lenners said he wished he’d taken a time-out during the overtime to re-emphasize to his defense to not let the quarterback get outside. That’s exactly what happened, sealing the Longhorns’ fate.
To that time, the Plainsmen only got on the board with a pair of field goals by Jeremy Hagan.
They took the first lead 3-0 on a 24-yard field goal. Their final score in regulation came on a 42-yarder with seven minutes left in the first half.
The Plainsmen threatened to score just before half but Daniel Regier picked off a potential touchdown pass to kill the drive.
The Longhorns battled poor field position in the second half before returning the favor with a Reiger punt to the PC 4.
A short punt gave the Longhorns the ball on the PC 30 with 4:00 left in the the 4th.
The Longhorns converted one fourth down for a fresh set of downs but a holding penalty left the Longhorns with a 3rd-and-15.
May got nine back, leaving the Longhorns with a 4th-and-6 at the PC 15.
With 26 seconds left, Lenners sent in his freshman place kicker, David Almanza, to try a 32-yard field goal to win the game.
Lenners said some missed blocking assignments allowed the Plainsmen to block the kick, virtually assuring the overtime.
In overtime, each team gets the ball on the 10 yardline.
Perkins County won the toss and gave the Longhorns the ball first so they would know what they had to do after the Longhorns’ possession.
The Longhorns got only two yards on the ground in two plays and saw a pass from Gockley to Regier broken up.
Faced with a fourth down, Lenners sent Almanza back in for a 26-yard field goal from the left hash mark.
His kick sailed through the end zone and would have easily been good from 36 yards out.
The defense stopped PC for two yards on first down but York got outside on the next play and flew over the goal line for the 12-9 win.
Lenners said the Longhorns have their work cut out for them Friday with 4-3 Bayard.
He said they run a no-huddle offense and will pass the ball as many as 50 times.
The quarterback can scramble well along with passing on the run to four or five good receivers.
They also like to pass the ball to one of their running backs.
He sees it as a must-win situation Friday to insure a playoff berth and finish the regular season on a strong note.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Longhorn football complex.
Stats at a glance
Tackles (solos-assists)—Tanner Stromberger 10-8, Daniel Regier 8-4, Alex Strand 7-5, Nathan Hinojosa 5-2, Jakob Burke 3-2, Misael Garcia 3-1, Trevor Fuehrer 1-3, Kale Gockley 2-1, Daniel Hogsett 2-1, Jeremiah Lueth 2-1, Paul Gaschler 2-0, Lucas Bauerle 1-1, Jonathan Hess 1-1, Keithan Cochran 1-0.
Rushing (attempts-yards-TD)—Misael Garcia 17-69-1, Michael May 17-57-0, Kale Gockley 6-25-0, Misael Lopez 4-7-0, Paul Gaschler 1-4-0, Alex Strand 2-3-0.
Passing (attempts-completions-yards)—Kale Gockley 5-1-8, Alex Strand 4-0-0.
Total Offense Rushing (attempts-yards-TD)—Chase County 47-144-1; Perkins County 42-166-1.
Total Offense Receiving (attempts-completions-yards)—Chase County 1-9-8, Perkins County 6-2-44.
Perkins Co.: 24 yd. field goal by Jeremy Hagan.
CCS: 1 yd. TD run by Misael Garcia, kick by Grant Lenners no good.
Perkins Co.: 42 yd. field goal by Jeremy Hagan.
CCS: 26 yd. field goal by David Almanza.
Perkins Co.: 8 yd. TD run by Michael York.
CCS 0 6 0 0 3— 9
Perkins County 3 3 0 0 6—12