The Blue Hill offense lines up against Twin Loup's defense (white) inside the Wolves 10 yard line. Joe Mackin would boot a game winning 25 yard FG on the very next play. *(photo by Bobby Mills)
BLUE HILL - Here’s a quick news flash. Blue Hill is better than you think. The undefeated Bobcats shot out to a 27-13 halftime lead, buoyed by a 20 point second quarter, then withstood a furious 2nd half comeback by Twin Loup to take a 37-34 quarterfinal win over the unbeaten Wolves.
It seemed like a tale of two halves, Blue Hill owning the opening 24 minutes, then Twin Loup coming out on fire after halftime to control most the last 24 minutes. But there were little story lines in between that proved to be the difference in the “loser go home” contest.
One of those “little story lines” is Blue Hill’s ability to answer back when Big Mo switched sides in the 2nd half. And it came down to some simple facts of physical stature. Let me tell you about that “little story line” in a bit.
I’ll be brutally honest with you, unless you have the luxury of watching game film, Blue Hill is a mystery team of sorts. Tough to find stats this team and maybe it’s by design, but I found out one thing about this football team. It’s not just all about the Bobcat’s big fullback, 6-2, 215 pound Lane Deisley.
Twin Loup took their opening drive methodically down the field, covering 46 yards in 8 plays. Sophomore FB Colby Coons scored from the one, Hunter Krause booted the PAT, and the Wolves had a quick 7-0 lead.
But the Bobcats apparently were not impressed.
On Blue Hill’s very first play from scrimmage on their 2nd possession, quick-as-a-wink quarterback John Rouse, a 5-9, 165 pound senior, broke through the stout Twin Loup defense for a 43 yard run. Alright, gotcha.
Six plays later, big Lane Deisley charged in from 8 yards out, Joe Mackin (remember this name) kicked the PAT, and things were all square at 7.
That’s the way the 1st Quarter ended, but the hometown Bobcats were about to put up some second quarter points and their offensive line and defense played a huge role in the outburst.
It all started when Twin Loup faced a 4th and 9 at their own 16. A high snap from center sailed over the Wolves punter’s head and out of the end zone for a safety. It took just two minutes for Blue Hill to take advantage of Twin Loup’s free kick.
The Bobcats turned the next short field possession into a score when the speedy John Rouse skipped 11 yards for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead for Blue Hill.
Twin Loup interrupted the Bobcat momentum 45 seconds later on the ensuing possession, when sensational All-State RB Alex Horky shot through a huge gap in the Blue Hill defense and blazed 46 yards for a touchdown……….21-13 Blue Hill.
The Bobcats answered right back when QB Rouse took a step back, then kicked in the jets for a 33 yard TD scamper. Just like that, Blue Hill had a 27-13 halftime lead and Twin Loup was about to hear a little halftime speech from future Hall-of-Fame coach Mike Kozeal.
The Wolves came out in the 3rd quarter, whoopin’ and hollerin’ and crusin’ 65 yards down the Blue Hill turf for an opening second half touchdown drive.
Alex Horky went the final 9 yards for the score and Twin Loup was back to within 27-20 when Hunter Krause converted on the PAT.
With the Wolves defense clamping down on Rouse and Lane Deisley, the Twin Loup offense got the ball back and quickly fashioned a 43 yard scoring drive. Big QB Rowdy Oxford rumbled into the end zone from yard out and suddenly the Wolves were back in it.
Twin Loup missed the 2 point conversion, but trailed only 27-26 with 3:58 left in the 3rd. But then Blue Hill unveiled the “other side” of their offense.
On the very next possession following the Oxford touchdown, slick Blue Hill signal caller John Rouse took the Shotgun snap, took a step forward as if to run it, then retreated a step to uncork a perfectly fired 38 yard touchdown pass to 6-2 senior tight end Maccoy Menke.
The 3rd quarter came to a close with the Bobcats leading 34-26.
It took only a minute and a half for Twin Loup to regain the lost momentum, driving 65 yards in 10 plays with Alex Horky covering the final 7 yards for the score.
Before Blue Hill could blink, Horky bolted in for the double PAT and Class D-2’s 2nd rated Twin Loup Wolves and 3rd ranked Bobcats were all square at 34 apiece.
“Overtime” flashed through my mind at this point, but Blue Hill’s smaller defensive line appeared to be getting tired and Twin Loup still seemed to have Big Mo on their side.
But a few penalties and a key interception by the Bobcats John Rouse stalled Twin Loup’s deepest drive at the Blue Hill 26 yard line with 3:11 left in someone’s season.
Blue Hill’s run game was certainly not working as the Bobcats took over on the apparent final drive of the football game, so there was only one option for Blue Hill head coach John Coffey. Throw the football.
Then came the turning point in this quarterfinal game. Let me set the stage.
Blue Hill has a couple of fine receivers, 6-3 Trent Karr and 6-2 Maccoy Menke. The pass coverage by Twin Loup was by defenders measuring 5-6, and 5-9 respectively. Enter my earlier statement “ simply a fact of physical stature.”
The first big play on the drive came when the 6-3 Karr was able to leap over his defender for gains of 28 and 31 yards.
The Twin Loup defense still kept coming, but John Rouse still found Maccoy Menke for an 8 yard gain.
The swarming Wolves still kept fighting, forcing QB John Rouse into two incomplete passes.
Finally, with only :11.8 seconds left in the game and facing a 4th and one at the Twin Loup 8 yard line, Bobcat head coach John Coffey sent junior John Mackin into the game to attempt a 25 yard field goal.
Remember, Mackin had missed two earlier PAT attempts.
Not this time. Joe Mackin calmly took the field and put a Bobcat charge into his kick, sailing it through the North uprights with room to spare.
Twin Loup did have one final snap following the ensuing kickoff, but the Bobcats Ethan Sharp pirated an Rowdy Oxford Hail Mary pass to end it.
Blue Hill QB John Rouse ended the night completing 10 of 14 passes for 163 yards and two TDs. The multi-talented senior also rushed the ball 17 times for 112 yards and 2 more scores.
Big Lane Deisley added 99 yards on 23 carries, swelling his season total to an unofficial 1,032 yards. Rouse is not that far back with 933 rushing yards.
Twin Loup’s terrific Alex Horky finished the night with 234 yards on 34 carries, giving him an unofficial 2017 rushing total of 2,174 yards and 41 TDs. For his career, Horky went over the coveted 5,000 yard rushing mark, ending with 5,067 yards. Again, this is not official.
Blue Hill charges into the Class D-2 semifinals, and will travel to Mullen to meet the unbeaten Broncos next Monday, November 13th. Both teams will enter the game at 11-0.
Twin Loup (10-1)......7……..6…….13…….8……….34
Blue Hill (11-0)..........7…….20…… 7.…....3…..…...37
TL - Colby Coons 1 run………………….....PAT-Krause kick..(8:36)..0-7
BH - Lane Deisley 8 run…………………....PAT-Joe Mackin kick..(6:56)..7-7
BH - Trent Karr 14 pass from John Rouse..PAT-Kick failed..(11:54)..13-7
BH - Team Safety………………………………………………..(10:04)..15-7
BH - John Rouse 11 run…………………….PAT-Kick failed…(7:31)...21-7
TL - Alex Horky 46 run……………...……....PAT-Kick failed..(6:46).....21-13
BH - John Rouse 33 run…………………….PAT-Pass failed..(4:47)....27-13
TL - Alex Horky 9 run………………….…….PAT-Krause kick..(9:18)..27-20
TL - Rowdy Oxford 1 plunge…...……….….PAT-Run failed….(3:58)..27-26
BH - Maccoy Menke 38 pass from Rouse..PAT-Mackin kick..(2:04)..34-26
TL - Alex Horky 7 run……………………….PAT-Horky run….(10:32)..34-34
BH - Joe Mackin 25 Yard Field Goal…………………………...(07.4)...37-34