TONTOGANY - Elmwood relished the role of being the underdog and parlayed it into an upset over league favorite Otsego last night.
The Royals did not appreciate the focus on the Knights' win over Eastwood two weeks ago and took it to Otsego, which was led by heroic quarterback Al Tyson. Elmwood (6-2 overall, 5-0 Suburban Lakes League) emerged as the only undefeated team in the conference after surprising the Knights with a 28-21 stunner in overtime.
"This was my Super Bowl," said Tyson, who threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns and scored the decisive TD on a sneak in overtime.
"They're supposed to be the league favorites and we're coming in as underdogs and we're supposed to get drilled. But the heart of this team was unbelievable," he said.
Trailing 21-14 with just
1:48 left in regulation, Tyson led Elmwood on a 13-play, 71-yard drive, completing six passes. With just five seconds left and facing fourth-and-goal from the 7, Tyson threw a fade to the corner of the endzone to sophomore Ben Hammer who hauled it in for the tying score with one tick left on the clock.
Then in overtime, Tyson completed a 16-yard strike to Dusty Brown and then four plays later he leaped over the line to score from one yard out. The keeper also came on fourth down and made it 28-21.
"My O-line stepped up and my receivers made so many big plays," Tyson said. "The key to the last two drives was our
Otsego (7-1, 4-1) could not answer in overtime as backup quarterback Andy Cocke completed one of three passes with the last one falling incomplete.
"I was pleased with how Al handle the pressure," said Elmwood coach Dean Zeigler. "Al is a heck of an athlete and leader. We made some clutch catches."
Zeigler said the key on defense was holding Otsego running back Cody Donald to "only" 182 yards. The Royals bottled up Donald for most of the night, but the junior back did score on runs of 80 and 42 yards.
"The key was to stop the run," Zeigler said. "We knew we had a chance to play with those guys. That is a heck of an Otsego team."
Zeigler said he is happy his team is now suddenly in the "driver's seat" and that he played up his team's role as underdog.
"It's been in the paper quite a bit that the Otsego-Eastwood game would decide the league. We used that the last few weeks building up to this," Zeigler said.
Otsego coach Dan Cocke said he thought his team was mentally ready, but did not execute.
"The trouble was that we only had the two big runs out of Cody and he made them happen himself. They beat us at the point of attack all night long," Cocke said. "We were outplayed. They won the battle in the trenches."
Otsego rushed for 207 yards and threw for 50 yards. Andy Cocke did connect with Chad Henck on a 35-yard touchdown strike.
Tyson rushed for 83 yards on 30 carries. Hammer caught six passes for 70 yards. The pair hooked up for scoring plays of 33 and 7 yards. Adam Sheline, another sophomore wideout, caught nine passes for 151 yards. Sheline had four key catches on the tying drive.
Elmwood plays at Woodmore next week and then wraps up its season at home with Eastwood.
"We just have to regroup," said Cocke, whose Knights will take on Lakota and Gibsonburg. "We still have a chance to win the league. We're big Woodmore and Eastwood fans now."
Contact Mark Monroe at:
or 419-724-6110.41.41583 -83.73904