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MCDONALD'S GAME OF THE WEEK (Football): Lancaster 38, Mineral Point 33
Defense holds on final play to Flying Arrows to key 38–33 SWAL win
First year Lancaster head coach Jordon Rolland hugs senior linebacker Carter Vesperman (27) after the Flying Arrows' dramatic 38–33 SWAL win over Mineral Point last Friday night, Sept. 24.

PREP FOOTBALL: Lancaster 38, Mineral Point 33

By A.J. Gates, Herald Independent

LANCASTER – With identical records of 2–3, and both teams needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, last Friday night’s Southwest Wisconsin Activities League contest between Lancaster and Mineral Point seemed destined to be a thriller.

The Flying Arrows and Pointers didn’t disappoint, in a game that featured seven lead changes and a combined 71 points, and eventually saw Lancaster pull out a 38–33 victory with a late score and a key defensive stop inside the 10-yard line on the game's final play.

With last Friday night’s victory, coach Jordon Rolland’s squad moved one step closer to keeping the program’s consecutive playoff streak alive, which currently sits at 28 seasons in a row.

The Flying Arrows (3–3, 3–1 SWAL) will clinch a playoff berth with Friday’s forfeit victory over Southwestern (3–3, 3–1 SRC) in a SWAL/Six Rivers crossover game, which counts towards their conference record and playoff eligibility. Southwestern had to forfeit Tuesday afternoon with only six eligible players due to COVID-related issues and injuries.

While the first half had plenty of fireworks, it was the closing minutes of the game that had fans standing and screaming at the top of their lungs last Friday night.

In the first half, the two teams traded touchdowns, and were knotted at 6–6 with 11:29 to play in the second quarter when Lancaster quarterback Jacob DiVall scored on a 27-yard keeper. His two-point conversion run came up short.

From there, the two teams traded leads twice, with Lancaster holding a 12–6 advantage on a 68-yard TD run by senior fullback Skyler Burkholder, and then an 18–13 lead after a 76-yard TD on a halfback pass from Burkholder to senior Michael Ihm just before halftime.

The Arrows took their largest lead of the game midway through the third quarter when Ihm picked off a Joah Filardo pass and weaved his way through the Pointers to the end zone for a 65-yard interception return and a 24–13 advantage.

Mineral Point (2–4, 1–3 SWAL) answered with back-to-back scores on short runs by senior Dominik McVay before the third quarter had come to a close, and held a slim lead of 26–24 heading into the fourth quarter.

Following the ensuing kick off, the Lancaster offense took over at its own 14-yard line, and put together an 11-play scoring drive that covered 86 yards. The drive was capped off with a 47-yard TD run by Burkholder, followed by a two-point conversion run by the senior fullback, to give Lancaster a 32–26 lead with 6:19 to play in the game.

Plagued by a holding penalty the Pointers were forced to punt on their next offensive possession, but pinned the Arrows deep at their own eight-yard line with a rolling end-over-end punt.

Unable to move past their own 10-yard line on their first three plays, the Arrows were forced to punt. Following a time out, blocked the punt at the goal line. With the ball rolling back into the Lancaster end zone, Mineral Point recovered the blocked punt for six points, and added the extra-point kick to take a 33-32 lead with 3:01 to play in the contest.

What the Pointers did next, came back to haunt them, and ultimately cost them the game.

On an onside kick attempt by the Pointers, Lancaster’s Jacob DiVall fell on the ball at the 50-yard line, and while on the ground was hit by a Mineral Point player for an additional 15-yard penalty.

Trailing by one point and needing a score in the final three minutes, the Arrows started out on the Mineral Point 35-yard line, and needed just four plays to score the go-ahead touchdown.

DiVall scored on a four-yard TD plunge with 1:21 remaining on the clock, giving Lancaster a 38–33 lead after the missed two-point conversion attempt.

To the approval of the Lancaster crowd, Lancaster’s Bryce Galle kicked the ball deep to the Pointers, who took over at their own 33-yard line.

Gains of 18, 7, 23 and 11 yards set Mineral Point up with a first-and-10 at Lancaster’s 8-yard line with 35 seconds showing on the clock, but the game ended on three straight incomplete passes, as the Lancaster defense held on to give the Flying Arrows the victory.

The Flying Arrows concluded the contest with 399 yards of total offense on 53 plays, while Mineral Point had gained 414 yards on a whopping 70 plays.

Burkholder had his most productive game of the season with 210 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, while DiVall added 116 yards and two TDs on 20 rushing attempts. In six games this season, DiVall now has 612 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, while Burkholder has 577 yards and four TDs.

Through the air, DiVall completed 1-of-3 passing attempts for 12 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, but it was Burkholder leading the way with two completions on two attempts, for 73 yards, including a 76-yard TD to Ihm.

Ihm caught all three completed pass attempts for 85 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively for the Arrows, DiVall led the team with six total tackles, including 2.5 for loss, while Ihm, Mitch Wolf and Carter Vesperman each had 5.5 stops, Ihm also with one interception.

This Friday night the Arrows could clinch a playoff bid with a win over visiting Southwestern (1-3, 3-3) in a crossover contest, before closing out the regular season against Cuba City (3-1, 5-1) and Darlington (4-0, 5-1).

Lancaster 38, Mineral Point 33
(from Friday, Sept. 24, at Lacaster)
Mineral Point....6 7 13 7 - 33
Lancaster...........0 18 6 14 - 38
First quarter
MP - (4:07) Lynch, 9-yard pass from Filardo (kick failed)
Second quarter
L - (11:29) Jacob DiVall, 27-yard run (run failed)
L - (8:30) Skyler Burkholder, 68-yard run (pass failed)
MP - (4:22) Filardo, 9-yard pass from McVay (Hanson kick)
L - (4:05) Michael Ihm, 76-yard pass from Burkholder (run failed)
Third quarter
L - (7:27) Michael Ihm, 65 interception return (run failed)
MP - (4:26) McVay, 7-yard run (pass failed)
MP - (0:18) McVay, 3-yard run (Hanson kick)
Fourth quarter
L - (6:19) Burkholder, 47-yard run (Burkholder run)
MP - (3:01) Ward, recoverd blocked punt in end zone (Hanson kick)
L - (DiVall, 4-yard run (run failed)
Team statistics
First downs - MP 20, L 17. Rushing - MP 37-107, L 48-314. Passing yards - MP 307, L 85. Passes - MP 21-33-1, L 3-5-1. Fumbles-lost - MP 0-0, L 3-2. Penalties-yards - MP 8-85, L 5-50. 
Rushing leaders
MP: McVay 11-60; Filardo 18-28; Lynch 8-19.
L: Skyler Burkholder 22-210; Jacob DiVall 20-116; Michael Ihm 6-(-12).
Passing leaders
MP: Filardo 19-31-1, 231; McVay 2-2-0, 76.
L: Skyler Burkholder 2-2-0, 73; Jacob DiVall 1-3-1; 12.
Receiving leaders
MP: McVay 7-97; Lynch 3-94; Bowers 8-86; Bossert 1-11; Sporle 1-10; Filardo 1-9.
L: Michael Ihm 3-85.