Beavers score on final play of game to beat Pettus
A pair of Beaver tacklers wrap up an Eagle ball carrier during Falls City’s thrilling victory over Pettus last Friday night.
Falls City 39
FALLS CITY -- After believing they had come from behind to beat the reigning state champs with 1:21 left in the game, the Pettus Eagles were handed a crushing dose of reality last Friday night. The Eagles failed to convert the extra point that would have given them a 1-point lead, and then looked on as Falls City quarterback Cameron Soto connected with Tyler Wiatrek for 34 yards and the game-winning touchdown -- just as time expired on the clock. The game was close, but the Beavers locked up a 39-33 win.
After a scoreless first quarter of play in a District 16-1A DII matchup last Friday, the Eagles got on the board first when Hunter Tomlin came up with an interception for Pettus early in the second quarter. Tomlin didn’t just end the Beaver drive, though, he also returned it 72 yards for a touchdown.
Falls City has always responded well to such events, though, and the Beavers did it again, as Phillip Lyssy took the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a Beaver touchdown. Scott Lyssy kicked the extra point, and the game was tied at 7 points apiece.
With just under seven minutes to play in the half, Falls City took its first lead of the night as Soto hit Wiatrek on a short passing play for 7 yards and a touchdown. Scott Lyssy booted the extra point, and the Beavers went on top, 14-7.
With 1:40 remaining in the half, Wiatrek scored his second touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run from scrimmage. Scott Lyssy remained perfect on extra points, and the Beavers led 21-7 at the break.
Following halftime, it was Falls City that struck first, and the picture of a “blowout” began to form for the Battlin’ Beaver faithful. But, when the extra-point attempt failed, a downward spiral began for Falls City.
Down 27-7, Pettus began to march back into the game on its next possession, as Ryan Beck capped off an Eagle drive with a 2-yard run from scrimmage. Beck then scored at the 9:43 mark of the fourth quarter on a 3-yard run. Pettus was unable to convert either point-after, but the Eagles were back in the contest with the score now 27-19.
The Beavers thundered right back down the field, though, and Wiatrek found some running room from midfield, racing 51 yards for a touchdown. The point-after attempt failed, and the score was 33-19 with 9:26 to play in the game.
The Eagles got rolling again on their next possession, needing less than two minutes to score on a 37-yard passing play from Beck to Tomlin. The duo hooked up again on the 2-point con-version, and the score was 33-27.
After a little back-and-forth, the Eagles tied the game at the 1:21 mark of the fourth quarter. Beck hit Tomlin once again, this time for 29 yards and the touchdown, making it a 33-33 contest. The Eagles lined up for the extra point to win it, but the Beaver defense was having no part of it. The extra-point attempt failed, and the Beaver crowd drew a sigh of relief.
Being at home, some teams and coaches would have been content to ride out the clock and take their chances in overtime, but not Head Coach Mark Kirchhoff and the Beavers. Kirchhoff put faith in his quarterback, and let the ball fly. Soto was on the mark with his pass to Wiatrek, and the senior did the rest as he scored the game-winning touchdown as the game clock expired.
In addition to his game-winning efforts, Wiatrek also led the Beaver running game with 224 yards on 16 carries. Phillip Lyssy ran the ball 15 times for 82 yards, and Jon Swierc and Soto earned 30 and 27 yards, respectively.
Wiatrek was also the leading receiver with 41 yards on two receptions, both of which went for touchdowns. Stephen Poole had one catch for 29 yards. Soto completed three of eight passing attempts and threw two touchdowns, but was intercepted once.
The thrilling win moves Falls City to 4-2 on the year, and the Beavers are now 2-0 in District 16-1A. Falls City’s next game will be this Friday, Oct. 7, as the Beavers travel to Runge to face the Yellowjackets. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.