on September 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Vassar lets one get away

VASSAR — Sometimes in football, all it takes is one play for the momentum to shift to the other team.

Unfortunately for Vassar, that lesson was learned on Thursday night against Garber.

After a defensive stop by the Vulcans gave them the ball on the ten-yard line trailing by one point, it looked as though Vassar was ready to challenge the Dukes for the lead.

But a costly fumble by Vassar gave Garber the ball in good position and the Dukes followed that with a Josh Pierson touchdown and rode the momentum gained to a 27-18 win over the Vulcans.

Pierson, who rushed for 196 yards and three touchdowns in the win, was nearly unstoppable, and Vassar coach Jason Kiss knew that giving him the ball so close to the end zone with the game on the line was going to hurt his team.

“When you shoot yourself in the foot like that, it makes it hard to win,” Kiss said. “We were killing ourselves out there with bad tackling. We weren’t where we had to be.

“We need some work yet.”

Trailing the Dukes 13-12 at that point, the Vulcan defense stopped Garber on a third and long to force the punt and things were looking good as Vassar took the field with the ball on the ten-yard line.

On the first play, though, a crucial fumble was recovered by the Dukes defense, and with just ten yards to go for a score, Garber made sure to capitalize.

Pierson took the handoff on first down from quarterback Randon Henika and swept around the left side of the line before leaping over two Vassar defenders to get into the end zone.

After the two-point conversion was good, Vassar now faced having to score twice to get the lead as they were trailing by a score of 21-12 to the Dukes.

“Garber is a good team,” Kiss said. “They are going to win a lot of games this year. When you give them easy chances, they are going to make it work.

“We gave that one to them.”

The game would remain that way until the 6:55 mark of the fourth quarter with Pierson again went through the Vassar defense for a score.

Pierson carried the ball four straight times after Garber took possession, and he capped off the drive with a 14-yard score to put his team ahead, 27-12.

On the touchdown run, Pierson darted in between Vulcan defenders, doing his best Barry Sanders impersonation before hurdling two would-be tacklers to find the end zone.

A penalty hurt Vassar on the ensuing possession, and Garber again marched the ball down the field toward the endzone.

A 15-yard run by Pierson gave the Dukes the ball on the ten yard line, where they promptly put the ball in the air for the apparent touchdown.

But an offensive pass interference call nullified the score, and with the loss of down tacked on; Vassar had the ball and the momentum.

The Vulcans took the ball on a ten-play drive, capped off by a Winston Adkins touchdown run from one yard out to move the game within nine points. Vassar’s Mike Arksey had the key play on the drive, a 54-yard burst through the Garber defense that gave his team a much needed lift.

Once again, though, mistakes at the worst moment cost Vassar, as the snap on the extra point attempt sailed over the head of the holder, essentially ending any chances of a Vulcan comeback.

“At that point, you either make the plays or you don’t,” Kiss said. “We made some plays early and we made a few plays late.

“We just need to find a way to put it together for the whole game.”

Vassar actually held a 12-7 lead after the first quarter.

The Vulcans’ Justin Woolwine made good on a 37-yard touchdown run with 9:37 left to play in the opening quarter. After a Pierson touchdown, Vassar’s Dontay Crist found some daylight for a 28-yard score to give the Vulcans the lead.

Woolwine ended with 83 yards rushing on 14 carries and Arksey added 80 yards on seven attempts.

“We saw some good things out there,” Kiss said. “We need some work yet, but we’ll be ready next week when we play Caro.”

Andrew Selich is a sports writer at the Tuscola Count Advertiser. He can be reached at selich@tcadvertiser.com.