Scotties Survive Scare
Glasgow Barely Beats Plentywood, Earns Playoff Berth, Date With Fairfield
BY J. LEVI BURNFIN COURIER SPORTS
Published: Thursday, October 25th, 2012
In a shocking turn of events on Friday, an entire stadium of fans, players and coaches had their hearts stop all at once.
Okay, not really. But in midst of a hard-fought football game, that the Scotties had all but won, up seven with less than a minute to go, the Plentywood Wildcats returned a fumble for a touchdown to seemingly tie the game and send the Glasgow faithful into a state of catatonic shock.
Luckily for Scottie nation, there was a flag on the return and the game-tying touchdown was wiped off the board. Still, after the Scotties came back from a seven-point deficit to take the lead and were looking towards a playoff berth, the Wildcats had one last gasp to tie it up with 22.8 seconds on the clock and at the Scottie 20-yard line.
The Scottie defense stiffened, like it had the entire second half, and caused a fumble to finally sew up the game once and for all. The Scotties had survived the scare and made the playoffs, beating Plentywood 14-7.
The Scotties earned a spot in the playoffs and the right to travel to Fairfield, for the second time this season, in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Fairfield and Glasgow met up in the third week of the season, where Fairfield came out on top, 35-7. But the score was much closer than that for much of the game.
It was 7-7 heading into halftime and 14-7 after three quarters. However, turnovers haunted the Scotties as they had five in the game and four in the second half alone.
Fairfield went on to score 21 points in the fourth quarter for the final 28-point margin.
Glasgow has struggled with turnovers all season and especially in their last three games against Malta, Wolf Point and Plentywood. They turned the ball over 12 times in those match ups, including three against Plentywood.
The Scotties opened the game against Plentywood on offense and were able to move the ball effectively, putting together a four-minute drive. But an interception in the Red Zone stopped the Scotties from scoring.
On the Scotties’ very next possession, they again started a long drive from their own 28 and marched down to the Red Zone again before another interception stopped the Scotties short.
It’s those type of drives that the Scotties have to convert into points against a team as talented as Fairfield.
Fortunately for the Scotties, their defense held the Wildcats out of the end zone for most of the first half. It was not until the Wildcats got the ball with two minutes to go in the first half that the defense faltered. The Wildcats got the ball on their own 38 and drove down the field on the back of a beautiful diving catch for 35 yards that took the Wildcats down to the Glasgow 27.
A couple of short passes and effective rushes later, the Wildcats broke through for the first score of the game. The Wildcats took the 7-0 lead into halftime.
Plentywood started the second half on offense and were looking to extend their lead over the Scotties in the pivotal deciding game.
But the Scottie defense came out fired up. They were flying around the field and forced a three and out. The ensuing punt was returned by Jonathan Koessl down to the Plentywood 21-yard line.
That was all the spark the offense needed. Koessl capitalized on his nice punt return and took a hand off for a 5-yard touchdown.
The Scottie defense again was dominant on Plentywood’s next possession and again Koessl took the Wildcats’ punt down to near the 20-yard line, this time the Plentywood 22.
The Scotties took advantage of the great field position and scored on a quarterback sneak by Lane Herbert to make it 14-7.
Both defenses put the clamps down and neither team threatened to score until the ill-fated fumble at the end of the game that could have allowed Plentywood to tie it.
Koessl finished with 105 yards rushing on 21 carries and 24 yards receiving on three catches. Bryan Larson had 88 yards from scrimmage with 66 receiving and 20 rushing. Herbert was 8-of-17 for 90 yards.
The Scottie defense allowed 160 yards and five first downs in the first half but only 28 yards and one first down in the second half.
The Scotties will need that second half defense against Fairfield, who is 7-1. Their lone loss came to undefeated Manhattan.
Fairfield has not scored less than 35 points in any game since their season opener. Their defense has also held teams to single digits four times, including two shutouts. However, the Eagles did have a close call in their season finale against Cut Bank, where they scraped by with a 38-32 win.
Liebelt is planning some specific changes to the Scottie defense that he hopes will help stymie the high-flying Eagles’ offense.
“We’re making some personnel adjustments and learning from what we did last time and trying to be more effective with it,” said Liebelt.
If those adjustments are effective and the Scotties are able to upset the Eagles, the Scotties will host a game in the second round of the playoffs against the winner of Baker and Columbus.
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