While there was clearly one "play of the game" in the classic battle between Eastwood and Otsego last Friday, there were about a half dozen more that led to the late heroics. When halfback Cody Donald found tight end Eric Zuhlsdorf in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown, it ended a five-overtime marathon. The Knights (6-0, 3-0 SLL) held off the Eagles 29-26.
The second biggest play came just minutes earlier in the fourth overtime when Eastwood, ironically, missed on a halfback pass. Running back Josh Fairbanks had Trey Hunter open in the end zone. But Fairbanks overthrew Hunter and the Eagles settled for a 31-yard field goal.
Eastwood senior defensive back Michael Gibbons came up with a key fumble and a timely interception to end two of the Knights' best threats.
Otsego had the ball inside the Eagles 30 late in the first quarter when Donald fumbled and Gibbons recovered. Once again the Knights had marched inside the Eastwood 30 late in the third quarter when Gibbons picked off an Andy Cocke pass.
With the scored tied at 7 with five minutes left in regulation, the Knights faced a fourth-and-six from the Eastwood 33. Cocke threw to an open Trevor Meyers, who dropped the pass.
Then with four seconds remaining in regulation, Eastwood kicker Jack Schemenauer missed a potential game-winning field goal from 37 yards out as time expired.
"We had some chances and they had some chances," said Eastwood (4-2, 2-1) coach Jerry Rutherford. "Obviously they made one more play at the end."
COACHES' SONS: After Otsego quarterback Matt Mills went down with a broken leg, coach Dan Cocke's son, Andy, came in to the game. Andy's counterpart was Eastwood quarterback Eric Rutherford, who is the Eagles' coach's son.
"It looked to me like neither coach was going to let their son throw the football," Cocke joked.
Another story within the game involved the kickers. Eastwood's Jack Schemenauer connected on field goals of 23, 30, 33 and 25 yards in the overtime sessions. Otsego's Brent Svanberg was good from 20, 28 and 31 yards in the overtimes.
Ironically, both kickers also are the sons of the soccer coaches from their respective schools.
"Both kickers kept coming in and banging it through," Rutherford said.
LAKE RECORD BOOK: Lake (4-2, 2-1) running back Dan Tarver has broken the school single-game rushing record in consecutive games running for 329 yards last Friday and 327 the week before. Tarver has rushed for 1,188 yards on 97 carries (12.2) with 21 touchdowns.
But Tarver's teammates, Bryan Conley and Jeff Schulte, also etched their names in the Lake history books.
Conley broke the single-game receiving record with 157 yards in the first week of the season against Swanton. Conley, who has 458 receiving yards this season, broke Ryan Pannel's record of 153 that was set in 2000.
Schulte is Lake's career leader in extra point conversions. Schulte has 75 PATs going into tonight's game against Otsego.
MAPLES MARCH UP POLL: The Adrian football team moved up two spots in the Division 3 Michigan poll. The 5-1 Maples climbed from eighth to sixth place after holding off 3-3 Dexter, 34-24, last Friday.
Adrian faces a fellow 5-1 team at 7 p.m. tonight when Saline comes to town.
Second-year Maple coach Phil Jacobs has gotten plenty of points from quarterback Steve Threet, wide receiver Ronald Walker and running back Markqone Russell.
Adrian has outscored opponents 159-62 and its lone loss was a one-point setback to Ann Arbor Pioneer.
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