WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley South’s football players left their field heartbroken after a late Bethel field goal squeaked its way through the uprights with 3:39 left in the game, giving them a one-point advantage.
It was the first lead the Bees gained on South, but it was the only lead they’d need, as they held on to win 22-21 on Friday, Oct. 9, at the Panthers’ stadium.
“We came out and played well right away and a few mental mistakes and penalties cost us,” said TVS head coach Tyler Cates.
Bethel’s winning field goal was set up after an offside penalty moved the ball up five yards, placing it on South’s nine-yard line instead of the 14.
Football is, as the old saying goes, a game of inches. The extra five yards proved to be the difference.
“It hurts to lose like that. I hate it for our kids, especially our seniors when they’ve worked so hard, but we can’t dwell on it need to get better. We need to fix mistakes and have a great week of practice for a good football team we are about to play in Covington,” said Cates. “I love these kids and I know they won’t pack it in after a tough loss.”
South got on the board first, amassing a 14-0 lead in the first half. Their first touchdown came off a 42-yard touchdown catch from Jacob Bassler to J.J. Utz at the end of the first before Bassler scored on a four-yard keeper with 3:54 left in the half.
Bethel punched in a score just two and a half minutes later though, cutting the deficit to 14-7 after two quarters of play.
The Bees scored first in the second half, but a missed extra point kept the Panthers on top with a 14-13 lead.
South pushed their lead to eight points at the start of the fourth quarter when Bassler connected with Utz once again, this time from 21-yards out, giving them the 21-13 advantage.
Almost midway through the quarter, Bethel scored once again, but a failed two-point conversion put the game at 21-19. The Bees recovered their onside kick though, marching down the field and finding themselves in field goal range with 3:39 remaining.
The rest is history.
South was anchored on defense by Chad Ehler, who set a South record with 26 tackles.
Sammy Shockey was the leading rusher for South, posting nearly 100 yards on the ground.
The Panthers hit the road to face league-leading Covington on Friday, Oct. 16.
Jeremy Erskine may be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH