Bontrager Field Goal Seals Win Over Delta
After the Streaks pummeled Montpelier 63-0 on Oct. 2, they traveled to Delta (1-6, 1-4 NWOAL), Friday, Oct. 9. AHS again spoiled their host’s chance for a Homecoming victory when junior Aaron Bontrager nailed a 33-yard field goal with eight seconds left for a 17-15 win.
“I am proud of our kids,” said Bryan Miller, AHS head coach. “They could have quit there at the end, but to come back and kick that field goal was fantastic.
“So many things could have gone wrong on the field goal. It wasn’t a real strong wind at the time, but it was still into the wind.
“The kick was perfect. Right down the middle, plenty of leg– what a great job for Aaron to come in and win the game.”
“Give all the credit to the kicker and coach Miller for driving down the field and giving them a chance to win the game,” said Nate Ruple, DHS head coach.
Scoreless At Halftime
A scoreless first half left the two squads battling not only each other but also Mother Nature on a cold, rainy blustery night.
The Panthers put together a pair of drives but came up empty. Jeremy Schmitz missed a 27-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter. Delta also came up short after facing a fourth down on Archbold’s 27 at the end of the half.
The Panthers racked up 147 yards rushing in the first half. The Blue and Gold mustered just 68.
Eric Puehler was virtually unstoppable for Delta, rushing for 98 yards in the first half. The junior finished with 162 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns.
Streaks Lead 7-0
Archbold took the kickoff to open the second half, but its drive stalled at its own 38-yard line.
The Panthers fared no better on their opening possession, and were forced to punt from their 23-yard line.
“I was worried all week we would have trouble stopping their run, and we did,” said Miller. “They ran the ball great against us and they battled back. I did not feel one bit comfortable when we were up 14 with seven minutes left.”
Punting into a fierce wind, Rayce Robertson sent up a high kick. But it only traveled four yards, setting up Archbold’s first score.
Trey Westrick picked up 12 yards and then nine more. He added three yards and then crossed the goal line at the 6:08 in the third for the quarter’s only score.
“Trey played a great game once we got the field position,” said Miller. “Trey was running every play, and he punched it in.”
The Panthers were forced to punt on their next possession. AHS took over on its own 18- yard line.
Unsportsmanlike-conduct and pass interference penalties on Delta kept Archbold’s drive alive. The Streaks scored their second TD at the 7:31 mark of the fourth.
The Panthers cut the difference to 14-7 on a Puehler 34- yard run. Delta got the ball right back on a Morton interception, and Puehler crossed the goal line nine plays later with 1:22 left.
Playing for the win, Delta lined up for the two-point conversion and took a 15-14 lead when Puehler crossed the goal line.
“We knew Archbold offensively was extremely good,” said Ruple. “We had the momentum at the time; we thought it was now or never.”
Field Goal For A Win
The Panthers were hit with an offside penalty on the ensuing kickoff, and were forced to re-kick from the 35. With the wind at his back Jeremy Schmitz boomed a 54-yard kick, but Noah Keefer gave Archbold a 22-yard kickoff return.
After an incomplete pass Morton connected on five straight passes to march the Streaks down the field: to Drew Smith for 13 yards; Desmond Sleigh for 11; and Smith for 13, 5, and 9.
An incomplete pass stopped the clock with 8.1 seconds left. AHS was 33 yards away, and kicking into the wind.
“Garrett (Morton) made good throws and we caught the ball,” said Miller. “Drew did a nice job getting out of bounds on the one play. That saved us a lot of time and allowed us to complete one more pass and get us into field goal position.”
The snap was perfect, the hold was perfect, and Bontrager kicked the game winner.
“You get some breaks sometimes, and sometimes you don’t,” said Ruple. “We are not going to make any excuses.
“The kicker did a nice job kicking the winning field goal. He put it right down the middle.”
|AHS||0||0||7||10 - 17|
|DHS||0||0||0||15 - 15|
AHS- Westrick 3-yard run (PATBontrager kick)
AHS-Morton 1-yard run (PATBontrager kick)
DHS-Puehler 34-yard run (PATSchmitz kick)
DHS-Puehler 3-yard run (PATPuehler run)
AHS- Bontrager 33-yard field goal