Bishop Dwenger wide receiver Bradley Black holds off Bishop Luers' Camari Harris during the first quarter of Friday's game at Zollner Stadium. (Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette)
Bishop Dwenger quarterback Patrick O’ Keefe looks for an open teammate Friday night. O’Keefe completed 9 of 17 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Bishop Luers’ Jordan Presley tries to elude Bishop Dwenger’s T.J. McGarry on Friday night. Presley finished the night with 27 rushing yards.
Saturday, September 30, 2017 1:00 am
Dwenger 15 Luers 14
Hard-fought battle comes down to kicker
Saints win on 27-yard FG with 1:02 left
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
Ecstatic. Happy. Unreal. A dream.
That's how Bishop Dwenger's junior kicker, Michael Garrett, described feeling in the wake of making a 27-yard field goal with 1:02 left to boost the Saints to a 15-14 come-from-behind victory over rival Bishop Luers on Friday night.
While Garrett wasn't the only hero – Patrick O'Keefe connected with Chip Clark on a 20-yard touchdown pass with 5:02 left and Hayden Ellinger's fumble recovery with 2:09 remaining set up the winning kick – the Saints couldn't have improved to 5-2 without Garrett's 3-for-3 night kicking at Zollner Stadium.
“The thing this week was, 'Battle.' It was the 'Battle of the Bishops,' and every play is a battle. It's a war out there and we want to make sure that we never quit,” said Dwenger coach Chris Svarczkopf, who improved his record against the Knights to 11-4.
It looked as if the Knights were in control as the Saints struggled to execute option plays, laterals and a shovel pass, and committed costly penalties.
Luers went up 7-6 when Ty Hambright took a direct snap 26 yards for a touchdown with 6:31 left in the third quarter, one play after he converted a fourth-and-1 play with a 3-yard run.
Dwenger, ranked 10th in Class 4A, converted a fourth down of its own when Clark ran for nine yards with 10:07 remaining.
But the ensuing play saw an O'Keefe lateral pass ricochet off the hands of Tommy Steele for a fumble that was recovered by the Knights' Camdyn Childers, who dashed 70 yards for a touchdown and a 14-6 lead.
“There were some big plays on our part, some big plays on their part,” Svarczkopf said. “There were plenty of mistakes to go around. But our guys, even though they made mistakes, they didn't quit and they didn't get down. They just made the next play, and I was very proud of that.”
Garrett, who is in his fourth year of kicking and converted first-quarter field goals from 36 and 24 yards, had never before been put in the position to attempt a pressure-filled, game-winning kick like the one he booted Friday.
“Pretty much the whole fourth quarter, I was getting ready for a situation like that,” Garrett said. “The coaches were helping me get mentally ready. I was staying off from everybody else, thinking about making the kick.”
On a night Jordan Hudson rushed for 71 yards, Clark gained 62 yards, O'Keefe completed 9 of 17 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown, and Steele and Sam Obergfell intercepted passes for the Saints, Garrett got to the enjoy the postgame spotlight. And that may have been more nerve-wracking than anything he did earlier.
“I was a little nervous when they called a timeout (before my last kick), but my coaches talked to me and helped me calm down,” he said.
For the Knights (4-3), ranked 14th in 3A, Hambright rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown, Jordan Presley gained 27 yards and Norman Knapke completed 6 of 13 passes for 39 yards.