Gridiron Dutchmen survive Sullivan’s second-half rally

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 11/10/21

Survive and advance.

That was the case Friday night for Nathan Cabot’s Owensville Dutchmen football team.

Leading 35-14 at the 7:05 mark of the third quarter, OHS nearly saw that lead and …

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Gridiron Dutchmen survive Sullivan’s second-half rally

Posted

Survive and advance.

That was the case Friday night for Nathan Cabot’s Owensville Dutchmen football team.

Leading 35-14 at the 7:05 mark of the third quarter, OHS nearly saw that lead and their season disappear.

That is because Sullivan’s Eagles scored two second-half touchdowns to trail by only seven points with 7:01 remaining.

Fortunately for the Dutchmen faithful, a fumble recovery by Garrett Crosby and a turnover-on-downs in the final 4:46 helped Owensville advance to Friday night’s Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 3, District 4 Championship Game via a 35-28 victory over Sullivan.

“We were able to survive a fierce rally by Sullivan in the second half,” Cabot said. “Our defense stepped up and made plays when they needed to and we’ll need more of that next week in the district championship game.”

Breaking from tradition, Owensville won the opening coin toss and elected to receive instead of kicking off like they did the majority of the season.

That decision paid off at the 8:24 mark of the opening quarter.

Traveling 62 yards in eight plays, Dutchmen senior quarterback Brendan Decker capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run. Charlie Whelan’s extra point gave Owensville an early 7-0 lead over the visiting Eagles.

Decker rushed for 92 yards on 12 carries and two scores while throwing for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 7-10 passing.

Sullivan answered on their first drive traveling 71 yards in nine plays.

Eagle quarterback Gabe Dace scored on a 1-yard TD run with 4:20 for the opening quarter. Charlie Lohden’s extra point tied the game at 7-7.

Utilizing the ground attack on their first drive, OHS turned to the air on their second offensive possession of the game.

Faced with a third-and-three at their 47-yard line, Decker found Whelan wide open for a 53-yard TD strike with 2:05 for the first period. Whelan’s kick put the Dutchmen back on top 14-7.

“(Brendan) Decker found me wide open and I was able to run it into the end zone for a touchdown,” Whelan said.

Whelan caught three balls for a team-high 61 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Sullivan got the ball back and stuck with the ground attack as the first quarter drew to a close.

Chewing up nearly half of the second quarter, the Eagles turned a fourth-and-one at the Dutchmen 3-yard line into a 3-yard TD run from Alex Goly with 6:38 until halftime. Lohden’s kick tied the game at 14-14 midway through the second quarter.

Mixing up running and passing plays, OHS broke the tie nearly three minutes later.

Faced with a third-and-four at the Sullivan 41-yard line, Brandt made a leaping catch for 20 yards and a Dutchmen first down at the Eagle 21-yard line.

Going back to the air, Decker found Austin Lowder on a screen pass for a 21-yard TD run breaking the 14-14 tie.

Whelan’s third extra point gave Owensville a 21-14 lead with 3:40 until halftime.

Four plays into Sullivan’s next drive, junior lineman Hunter Boyer recovered an Ian King fumble giving the Dutchmen a first down at their 44-yard line with 2:20 for the first half.

Coming up clutch again, Brandt caught a 22-yard pass from Decker on third-and-one keeping the OHS drive alive.

Two plays later, Lowder found the end zone again on a 6-yard TD run with 1:21 for the half. Whelan’s kick doubled the Dutchmen lead to 28-14 as both teams went to their respective locker rooms at the halftime break.

Starting the second half on defense, Owensville allowed Sullivan to get into their side of the field before the fumble bug bit the Eagles again.

Two plays after a fourth-down conversion, Sullivan lost their second fumble of the game with Logan Evans recovering it to put the Dutchmen offense back on the first at the 9:03 mark of the third quarter.

Four consecutive runs by Lowder moved OHS to the Sullivan 26-yard line.

In spite of an incomplete pass on the next play, the Eagles were flagged for roughing the passer giving the Dutchmen another first down at the Sullivan 13-yard line.

Decker made them pay for the penalty on the next play running the football into the end zone for a 13-yard TD run.

Whelan’s fifth extra point of the game gave OHS a 35-14 lead at the 7:05 mark of the third quarter.

That turned out to be Owensville’s final score of the game.

Sullivan then answered at the 2:10 mark of the third on a Gabe Dace to Franky Erxleben 15-yard TD pass trimming the Dutchmen lead to 35-21 at the end of the third quarter.

Forced into a rare punting situation, OHS saw the Eagles cut further into their lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Behind the running of Ian King and Alex Goly, Sullivan capped a 11-play, 74-yard drive with a 5-yard TD run from Goly. Lohden’s kick cut the Dutchmen lead to 35-28 with 7:01 remaining.

King (126 yards on 23 carries and Goly (115 yards on 17 carries) both reached triple digits on the ground for the Eagles.

Fortunately for Dutchmen football fans, the defense was able to record a fumble recovery and a turnover-on-downs in the final 4:46 to advance to Friday night’s district title game.

Sophomore Blake Elliott led the Dutchmen defense with a team-high 14 total tackles.

Alan Kopp and Brandt also added 12 total tackles each.

Tanner Meyer also reached double digits in the total tackle department with 11.

Next up for Cabot’s Dutchmen Friday night will be a Priory Raven football team that sits at 8-3 overall.

They average just over 33 points a game on offense while allowing just over 23 points a game on defense.

They will be led by quarterback Gerard Grewe who has thrown for 2,167 yards on 163-245 passing with 28 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Grewe is also the team’s leading rusher with 1,157 yards on 161 carries and 16 touchdowns.

Grewe’s favorite target will be wide receiver Jahaad Fort with a team-leading 1,127 yards receiving on 72 catches and 18 touchdowns.

Defensively, the Ravens will be led by Mark Parent and Fort who lead the team in total tackles with 55 and 54 respectively.

Henry Weas and Tommie Kraemer also lead the Ravens defense with three sacks each.

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