Quarterback Scott Wheeler makes a cut off the heels of Levi Nance deep in Irish territory to set up the Longhorns’ first score—a 10-yard pass from Wheeler to Kadin Vrbas. (Johnson Publications photo)
Longhorns turn back Irish for 13-9 win
Just when the Longhorns were regaining their momentum after giving up an interception at the St. Pat’s Irish 7-yard line and then getting an interception of their own, lightning delayed Friday’s game in North Platte nearly an hour.
During the delay, Head Coach Dan Lenners told his players that the team who best handles the delay will be the team that wins the game.
Before the delay, the Longhorns were trailing 6-9 early in the third quarter when they executed a fake punt at their own 38.
Punter Parker Dillan hit a wide open Braden Space coming off the line. Space ran down to the Irish 7 before going down.
The Longhorns went to the air and an Irish defender read the play, stepped in front for the interception and raced down the sideline. Fortunately, quarterback Scott Wheeler was able to run him down at the Longhorn 30.
The Irish then moved inside the Longhorn 20 before an errant pitch left them with a 3rd-and-16 at the Longhorn 25.
The Irish went to the air and this time Wheeler returned the favor, intercepting the ball at the Longhorn 10 and returning it to the Longhorn 28.
After the delay, the drive stalled and the two teams traded punts. St. Pat’s punter popped a big one that went 50 yards in the air, over Wheeler’s head. He finally picked up the ball at the Longhorn 20.
After a penalty moved the ’Horns back to their own 15, they executed a 13-play, 85-yard scoring drive, utilizing both an aerial and ground attack.
Space got the go-ahead score on a one-yard pass from Wheeler. Space kicked the extra point for a 13-9 lead.
However, the game was far from over.
Starting at their own 35, the Irish began grinding the yards out on the ground—all the way to the Longhorn 4.
That’s when the Longhorns got the biggest break of the game when the Irish quarterback mishandled the snap and Blake Dorn jumped on the loose ball with 3:08 left in the game.
Starting at their own 4, the Longhorns couldn’t move the ball and were forced to punt from their own end zone.
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