The Lancaster Flying Arrows football team came up just behind the team from Colby High School, losing in a thrilling W.I.A.A. Division 5 Championship Game, 44-43.
Lancaster, 13-1, came back from a 13-0 deficit to be within three points at halftime, thanks in part to two key catches by Kile Jerrett that set up touchdowns by the Arrows in the second quarter. Down by 16 points, 23-7, Jerrett caught a 37-yard pass from quarterback Justin Hore, which led to two runs by Troy Baker of six and three yards, the second bringing the score to 23-13.
Lancaster held Colby to a four-and-out, and marched 66 yards in less than two minutes, Troy Baker going the last 29 on a scamper to the end zone to bring Lancaster within four. It was a three-point deficit after a Hunter Budack extra point attempt, to 23-20.
Lancaster allowed Colby to score another touchdown in a little over two minutes to push the score to 30-20, but the Flying Arrows were not about to allow the first half to end being down by two scores. Lancaster just took 33 seconds off the clock as they used a five-play, 53-yard drive. The key to that drive was the first play, a 34-yard Hore-Jerrett pass completion that put Lancaster on Colby's 19. Troy Baker ran 11 yards on the third play of the drive, and after a three-yard run by Trae Mezera, Baker took it in for the touchdown.
The half did not end without some controversy, as officials called a pass interference penalty on Lancaster, putting Colby on the Lancaster 40-yard line. No damage was done, however, and they went into halftime 30-27.
Neither team broke into the endzone in the third quarter, but the fourth started with Lancaster possessing the ball. Baker ran for 15 yards, setting up a Mezera 21-yard run to give Lancaster its only lead of the game, 34-30.
That lead was held for only one minute, 32 seconds, as Colby took a 46-yard kick return to the 39-yard line of Lancaster, giving them great field position to mount a 39-yard scoring drive.
Lancaster brought the score to 37-37 with a 60-yard drive that took four minutes and 15 seconds. Baker fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Hore, but not before Lancaster lost nine yards, pushing them to the Colby 17. Hunter Budack kicked a 34-yard field goal.
Despite two circus catches in the first half, Jerrett was almost defined by one mistake, but later defined by a great defensive play to force the game to overtime. After holding Colby again to a four-and-out, Jerrett misplayed a punt with a little over two minutes left in the game, allowing Colby to recover on the 10 yard line of Lancaster.
Colby had three modest rushes that brought them to the two-yard line before Lancaster called a timeout with 36 seconds remaining in regulation. Flying into the backfield on the field goal attempt, Jerrett did not allow the ball to get more than four feet off the ground, preserving the tie, and wiping away any affect of that muffed punt. Lancaster was not able to move the ball forward much in the remaining 30 seconds of regulation, and the game was going to overtime.
In overtime, Lancaster had the ball first, set up on the 25-yard line as per overtime rules. After an incomplete pass, Mezera covered the full 25 yards on a run to give Lancaster a lead, 43-37. It was then that Colby's Tyler Meyer decided to become his team's MVP, rushing in and blocking Budack's extra point, opening the door for Colby.
On the next play, with Colby now at the 25-yard line, Meyer tied the score catching a pass from Aaron Koerner. Meyer was by himself in the endzone on the trick play, but Koerner's soft delivery allowed Wes Schnepper to get into position as the ball got to Meyer, but the Colby receiver was able to outmuscle Schnepper, setting up the extra point kick, the margin of difference for Colby to win the title, and keeping Lancaster from tying Stratford with a record seven titles.
Look to SWNews4U.com in the future for video of the state championship game, as well as photos. In addition, look to the Grant County Herald Independent next week for a complete wrap-up of the game, as well as a special section recognizing the student athletes' efforts.