Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Orrick wins Class 1 football title in double overtime

ST. LOUIS | The folks in Orrick will be talking about this one for a while. Maybe forever.

It was the second straight Class 1 title for the Bearcats, who finished their season 15-0 and extended their winning streak to 29 games. But this one certainly wasn’t as easy as the 1-yard game-winning score by Joe Kaufman.

“It was the most dramatic football game I’ve ever been a part of it in all my time around the game,” Orrick coach Pat Richard said. “I don’t know if you are going to find more heart than what you saw on the field today.”

The two teams battled for more than 47 1/2 minutes to a 14-14 tie.

With 17 seconds left in regulation, Logan Eubank scored on a 16-yard run around the left side. After the two-point conversion failed, Orrick still held a 20-14 lead and seemed destined for its second straight state title.

Thayer, however, wasn’t done.

With 10 seconds left in the game, Jacob Eckman completed a 62-yard touchdown pass to Lance Schneider.

As Eckman was thrown to the turf by Orrick’s Leslee Eubank, he heard the roar of the crowd, but he wasn’t sure it was for his team.

“I thought either my guy caught it or they picked it off, something had to have happened, but I didn’t know what,” Eckman said.

The touchdown tied the game at 20-20 with no time left in regulation. At that point, Thayer opted to try for an extra point, but the kick was low and wide left.

It was then that Orrick felt the momentum that had been sucked from its sideline slowly return.

Kaufman completed his first pass of the day to Matt O’Dell on Orrick’s first possession in overtime. O’Dell ran into Calvin O’Dell, who eventually ended up with the ball in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown.

“He had never played tight end before in his life,” Richard said of Calvin O’Dell. “He’s a guard, but we moved him over there after (Aaron Blyth) got hurt. I knew Matt was open. Joe made a good enough throw, and Calvin happened to be there, and we ended up making a lucky play.”

Thayer answered on a 1-yard touchdown run by Joshua Huckabee.

Eckman added the game-tying two-point conversion, sending the game to the second overtime.

At that point, the Orrick defense stiffened.

On third and 8, Orrick defensive back Clayton Jones intercepted an Eckman pass, ending Thayer’s possession.

Richard couldn’t speak highly enough of Jones, who earlier was on the side of the defense that gave up the game-tying touchdown at the end of regulation.

“The beauty of the game of football is you can make 100 mistakes in the first half of the game and you can make one play in the second half that matters, that is a ballgame-changing play,” Richard said. “Does anyone remember the 100? No. Clayton Jones had two huge plays that he didn’t make, but Clayton Jones made the play when it mattered.”

The interception gave Orrick the ball on the Thayer 25.

Orrick used seven plays to score the game-winning touchdown, including four runs by Kaufman.

Kaufman finished the game with 90 yards in 24 carries and three touchdowns. Heading into the game he had just 152 yards in 36 carries.

“I think deep down I knew my time would come in the state championship game,” Kaufman said.

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