NAPOLEON — Football coaches speak glowingly of playmakers.
In a matchup of two one-loss teams, Fremont Ross' playmakers made the difference Friday night, as Napoleon fell 21-14 in overtime.
The night's big play unfolded when Ross sophomore quarterback Tyler Wolf scrambled out of the pocket and found sophomore wideout Drew Starks for a 20-yard completion on a third-and-15 play in overtime.
Two plays later, Tylor Trautwein scored on a one-yard run.
On Napoleon's OT possession, the Little Giants defense held the Wildcats to secure the win. Napoleon quarterback Jacob Plassman was being pressured by Ross linebacker Jared Walker when he threw an incomplete pass on fourth down to end the game.
“In high school football you've got to make plays when you get chances, and our kids made plays down the stretch for us,” Ross coach Derek Kidwell.
The Little Giants (7-1) played stout defense, coming up with two interceptions and a pair of fourth-down stops in the red zone to deny the Wildcats (6-2) scoring opportunities.
“We remind our team every Friday night defense wins championships,” Kidwell said. “If we're going to win it, we're going to win it with our defense and that's what happened tonight.”
Napoleon coach Tory Strock praised both teams: “It was a battle until the end.
“They just made a play or two more than we did. It wasn't the shootout I think that a lot of people like to see, but both teams stuck to the running games and had successes with it.
The Little Giants' not-so-little offensive line exerted plenty of muscle with the first possession of the game to lead Fremont to an opening-drive score.
Greg Brown finished off a seven-play, 70-yard drive with a 5-yard scamper into the end zone to give Ross a 7-0 lead with 8:59 remaining in the first quarter.
Trautwein, who rushed for 109 yards on 28 carries, gained 59 yards on four carries during the opening drive.
But the Wildcats didn't remain scoreless for long.
Napoleon took its third possession and marched 78 yards on nine plays with Devon Sonnenberg completing the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to tie the score at 7, with 9:37 left in the second quarter.
Sonnenberg, who carried 31 times for 173 yards, began the Wildcats' first scoring drive by breaking off a 34-yard run that put them into the Little Giants territory for the first time in the game.
Neither team's ball-control running attacks had anything to do with the game's third score.
Starks accounted for the Little Giants' go-ahead tally.
The Ross cornerback stepped in front of Napoleon wideout Jordan Myles and took a pass from Plassman (3-for-14 for 48 yards) and returned it 23 yards for a TD to give Ross a 14-7 lead with 4:19 left in the first half.
The Little Giants held the lead, turning back a Wildcats' red zone intrusion with less than two minutes remaining before halftime.
Napoleon's attempt to tie the score was stopped when Sonnenberg came up short of a first down just outside the 10-yard line on a fourth-and-one play.
The Little Giants owned the lead for most of the second half until Napoleon's offense finally broke through with a scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter.
Napoleon drove 74 yards on 10 plays to tie the score at 14, when Sonnenberg completed the drive with a 1-yard TD run with 5:41 left to play.
The Little Giants marched right back and were in position to go ahead when Gabe Tayar was called on to attempt a field goal from 22 yards out with 1:31 remaining.
However, Tayar's field-goal attempt was blocked, ultimately sending the game into OT.
Contact Donald Emmons at:firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6302.