Cubs Lose by 2 in Overtime for Homecoming
Despite the disappointing loss, the large Homecoming crowd was treated to a lot of exciting football during their home side’s best performance of the season, and a do-or-die, goat-to-hero moment for junior captain Scott Coffelt.
South Fork got on the board first in the opening quarter after junior defensive lineman Aaron Etherton forced a fumble, recovered by freshman linebacker Austin Worrell on the Hoopa 20 yardline. The Cubs got into the endzone on a 21 yard pass from sophomore quarterback CJ Van Meter to junior wide receiver Gabe Malley.
The Cubs scored again in the second quarter when Malley, this time on defense, grabbed the ball out of a Hoopa fullback’s hands as the Warrior player was stopped in his tracks and stood up by senior lineman Justin Michael. Malley ran the ball 60 yards for the TD, giving the Cubs a 12-0 lead. A pass from Van Meter to junior wide receiver Ryder Pfau added 2 extra points and the Cubs were up 14-0.
Hoopa responded with a long steady drive that resulted in a 2-yard run into the endzone, capped with a 2-point conversion, making the score 14-8 at halftime.
To open the second half, Pfau dazzled the crowd with an 81-yard kick-off return, untouched by anyone, streaking down the home sideline for another South Fork touchdown. The point after attempt was not successful, but the 20-8 score on the scoreboard still looked the best it has looked all season for South Fork.
Again, Hoopa responded with a long steady drive, this time finished by a 2 yard run by the Warrior quarterback for the TD. South Fork prevented the extra point.
“We did a pretty good job containing them,” said head coach Andy Olsen. “They get most of their points on big plays.” Up to that point, Hoopa had moved the ball but not had any of those big plays Olsen referred to.
But with 1’30” to go in the fourth quarter Hoopa had the ball on South Fork’s 42 when senior Warrior running back Robert Matsen broke loose and took the ball all the way to the endzone to tie the game at 20 and crush the crowd’s hearts. A sigh of relief came when point after attempt failed, preserving the tie and forcing the extra time, thanks to Justin Michael’s stuff at the line of scrimmage.After the kick-off and with time running out, South Fork managed to move the ball 60 yards and into scoring range, raising the hopes of the crowd again. On what might have been the last pay of the game, Coffelt threw a pass intended for Pfau that would give South Fork its first victory of the season and thrill the Homecoming fans. Instead it was picked off 4 yards deep in the endzone by sophomore William Reynolds who ran it back 90 yards as time ran out before Coffelt himself finally chased him down and made the tackle on his own 6 yardline.
“A lot of quarterbacks would just hang their heads after throwing that kind of interception. But not Scott,” said Olsen, impressed by his captain’s determination to prevent Hoopa from scoring the game winning TD.
In overtime, each team gets 4 downs starting on the opponent’s ten yard line. South Fork went first and failed to score. Hoopa also came up empty on their first attempt.
Hoopa went first in the second round and got into the endzone and made the two point conversion for an 8-point lead. The Cubs were able to score when their turn came, but could not get the extra points. The final score was a heartbreaking 28-26.
“The guys were disappointed, and it’s hard to always have to talk about the moral victories,” said Olsen, “but they beat us up pretty good in the scrimmage six weeks ago and this game shows how much progress we have made in those six weeks. We played very well.”
Sophomore wide receiver and linebacker Cody Wyatt was back from injury. “Cody was a huge addition for us,” said Olsen, noting his 3 receptions for 67 yards and 13 tackles.
Olsen also had praise for senior lineman Joseph Peralta. “Joe had his best game of the season”, he said. “He made some huge tackles in the 4th quarter.”
On defense eight Cubs were in double digits in tackles, including Etherton with 20 and Coffelt and senior Ipo Savoie with 19 apiece.
This Friday, to complete the first round of Humboldt Del Norte Little Four Conference play the Cubs will host St. Bernard’s, and they will have their work cut out for them. “St. Bernard’s is the best team in the county,” says Olsen, Big Five or Little Four. They were state champs last year in their division and because of their dominant success they are being required to play in a higher division this year. Kick-off will be at 7 p.m. in Miranda.