Last-second kick seals Outlaws win

 

Last updated 9/19/2023 at 10am

Photo by Olivia Kennedy

Reid Woodson's leg won a nail-biter for the Outlaws on Friday night. Justin DeSmet holds.

Reid Woodson's last-second field goal gave the Outlaws an intense and exciting finish in an incredible football game that ended in a 25-22 win at home last Friday against the Elmira Falcons.

Through the night, teams battled back and forth. Both made great plays on special teams, and Sisters stood up to a hard-running Falcon squad that possessed the ball for a large portion of the game.

Sisters opened the game with a kickoff, and after an initial Elmira possession ended in a punt, the Outlaws got their scoring started. Kolbi Cotner capped an eight-play drive when he ran a sweep to the pylon with 3:07 left in the first quarter. Woodson kicked the PAT and the Outlaws went up 7-0.

The Falcons came back at the start of the second quarter and scored, but Sisters prevented their two-point conversion attempt to hold on to a slim 7-6 advantage.

After the ensuing Falcon kickoff, Ethan Eby broke free from the midfield and sprinted to the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown run, which put the Outlaws on top. Woodson hit the PAT and Sisters pushed to a 14-6 lead.

Elmira had a solid drive going on their next possession, but it was quickly ended when Dawson Roberson intercepted the ball in the end zone for the touchback. Then Sisters fumbled and Elmira got the ball back on the very next play. The Falcons took advantage and scored with 1:11 left in the half. Sisters prevented the two-point conversion attempt and at the half were up 14-12.

As the second half got underway, Elmira tried a pooch kickoff and was able to recover it around Sisters' 40-yard line. The Falcons went on to score and took their first lead of the night at 19-14.

The Falcons tried another pooch kickoff and almost had the recovery, but Sisters found the ball at the bottom of the heap. After several traded possessions, Woodson set up to punt for Sisters with 15 seconds remaining in the third.

Sisters got a giant break on an Elmira special teams mistake. Woodson got off a boomer, which forced the Falcon returner to track back and to his left. The ball glanced off the Elmira player, and Roberson was there to pick it up and take it to the house for a massive Outlaws TD. Justin DeSmet ran it in for the two-point conversion, and Sisters held on to the 22-19 lead as the third quarter expired.

Elmira's final drive of the night gave them a chance to tie the game. The Outlaws stopped them on third and goal, and again on fourth and goal. Elmira was able to kick a field goal and knot the game up 22-22.

Tristen Madron took the kickoff return for some yardage. Quarterback Hunter Bronson found Kale Mock for an eight-yard gain, and then made a great throw to Landon Scott, who made an unbelievable diving catch near the sideline, for a 35-yard gain, which moved the Outlaws into Elmira territory with 23 seconds left on the clock. Sisters advanced to the eight yard line and took a time-out with 2.9 seconds left.

Woodson lined up to attempt the 18-yard field goal, but Elmira called two consecutive time-outs to try to "ice the kicker." Woodson stayed calm and poised, and kicked it through the uprights for an Outlaws victory.

The Outlaws moved to 3-0 on the season, and 1-0 in Mountain Valley Conference play.

Coach Gary Thorson told The Nugget that coaches liked the poise Bronson showed on the Outlaws' final drive.

"It was an impressive drive by the team considering we had shot ourselves in the foot on so many of our previous drives," said Thorson.

Sisters finished the night with 195 yards rushing, and 50 yards passing. Bronson was four-for-six for the 50 yards. Eby had a 50-yard TD run, DeSmet carried the ball 10 times for 50 yards, and Mock had three carries for 50 yards as well. Scott had the big 35-yard reception late in the final quarter.

DeSmet led the team with 13 tackles and three assists, Tony Gonzalez had eight tackles and two assists, Kolbi Cotner recorded seven tackles, and Ethan Eby added five tackles and one assist. Jozua Miller came up with a big tackle on Elmira's last drive to help keep the Falcons out of the end zone, and finished with three tackles and four assists.

Coach Thorson said, "We had a great performance from Justin tonight as he had a monster of a game from his free safety position. Tony had his best game of the season and made his presence known on the defensive side of the ball. Kolbi had another great game this week, and made some big plays at key moments for us."

There remain things to work on.

"We were way too soft on defense and made too many mistakes on both sides of the ball," Thorson said. "We were very fortunate to come out with a win. If we expect to compete with better teams coming up on the schedule we need to make some major improvements in a variety of spots."

The Outlaws will play at La Pine on Friday, September 22.

 

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