(Updated 12:30 a.m.) Otsego beats BGHS, 26-23 in OT (9-13-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor   
Friday, 13 September 2013 22:50
Otsego's Cody Downs (right) runs the ball past Bowling Green's David Espen. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
TONTOGANY — The first football game in the Otsego-Bowling Green rivalry since 2007 may not have been one for the ages execution-wise. PHOTO GALLERY
But the stands were packed on both sides of the field, and fans were standing along the fence until the game ended in overtime.
Then, Otsego’s students rushed the field to celebrate as senior Cody Downs put his name into the folklore of the rivalry after he scored on a fourth-and-goal play from inside the 1-yard line to lift the Knights past the Bobcats, 26-23.
‘‘I can remember going to this game as a little kid, and going crazy and loving it,’’ Downs said. “I feel good being out here right now. I couldn’t even describe how happy I am right now.’’
Andy Fisher kicked a 36-yard field goal on BG’s possession in overtime to give the Bobcats a 23-20 lead.
On Otsego’s possession, Downs was stopped for no gain on a first down play. Cole Gorski then picked up 15 yards on a jet sweep to get a first down at the 5-yard line.
Four plays later, the Knights’ offensive line got enough push to help Downs find the end zone to secure the victory.
‘‘We got stuffed the first couple of times. We huddled up and talked about it. The offensive line wanted it again,’’ Downs said. ‘‘We got together and we knew we were getting it in.
‘‘We went right at them again to score the touchdown and get the win.’’
The game officials did not immediately signal the touchdown. But after pulling players from both teams off the pile, the score was confirmed.
‘‘It was a fight, but we were in,’’ Downs said.
‘‘We knew we were the better team, and we came out and proved it to them,’’ Downs added.
Matt Dzierwa, in his first season as Otsego’s head coach, said the coaches had confidence the team would get the touchdown at the end.
‘‘They wanted to win the game. It was great push up front and a great effort by Cody,’’ Dzierwa said.
Downs rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two scores. He finished with 128 yards rushing on 42 carries and was 16-of-24 passing for 229 yards.
‘‘Cody has worked hard. He wants to be a football player, and he goes after it,’’ Dzierwa said.
The Knights scored first on Downs’ 30-yard pass to Riley Tercha with 1:46 left in the first quarter. The PAT kick failed, and the Knights were up 6-0.
Trent Wisecup returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to the 15-yard line. Three plays later Matt Kneesi scored on a 5-yard run. With Fisher’s kick the Bobcats led 7-6.
Otsego appeared to score on a 49-yard pass from Downs to Cole Gorski on a crossing route that Gorski turned into a TD with his speed. But a holding penalty wiped out the score and the Knights had to punt.
The Knights did go ahead on a 78-yard drive late in the first half. The big play of the drive was a Downs pass to Schyler Scherff for a 31-yard gain. Downs would score on a 1-yard run, but conversion pass failed and Otsego took a 12-7 lead into the locker room.
‘‘The biggest frustration for me is how we played in the first half; that’s two of the three games so far,’’ BG head coach Scott Seeliger said. ‘‘Somehow we have got to come into a game ready to play, and we haven’t done that.
‘‘Hat’s off to Otsego. They played hard for the whole game, and we played hard for half the game,’’ Seeliger added. ‘‘We have to eliminate mistakes, and we have to execute better.’’
After a scoreless third quarter, BG scored on the first play of the fourth quarter when Aaron Donaldson and Ryan Emans hooked up on a 77-yard pass play. Emans was able to break a tackle, spin away from a defender, and then roll down the sideline for the score. BG’s conversion pass failed, but the Bobcats held a 13-12 lead.
Otsego took advantage of a BG fumble with 8:34 left in regulation. The Knights got the ball at the BG 39-yard line and two plays later, Downs hit Gorski for a 34-yard TD. Gorski made a nice move to get around the defender and catch the ball in the end zone. Downs passed to Scherff for the two-point conversion, and the Knights held a 20-13 lead.
BG then got a break on a bad punt snap by the Knights.
The Bobcats tackled Scherff, who attempted to run after grabbing the bad snap, at Otsego’s 18-yard line.
Five plays later, Kneesi scored on a 1-yard run and Fisher kicked the PAT to tie the game at 20 with 3:38 left in regulation.
Otsego had one more chance in regulation, when the Bobcats lost another fumble, this time at midfield.
The Knights moved to the 8-yard line, but a holding penalty stalled the drive and a field goal attempt was short as time expired.
‘‘Everybody found out the rivalry is back,’’ Dzierwa said. ‘‘We battled back and forth, and it just happened that we got the ball at the end to win it.’’
Seeliger, also in his first season as the head coach, said the closeness of the schools make for a great rivalry.
‘‘You can’t get any better than this,’’ Seeliger said. ‘‘That’s the kind of game you want to play every week. ... It’s great to have it back.’’
The Knights lead the series 17-8, having won seven of the last eight meetings.
Otsego, 2-1, opens Northern Buckeye Conference play at Lake next Friday.
BG, 1-2, hosts Perrysburg to start Northern Lakes League play next Friday.

BGHS    7    0    0    13    3    —23
OTSEGO    6    6    0    8    6    —26
O — Tercha, 30 pass from Downs (kick failed)
BG — Kneesi, 5 run (Fisher kick)
O — Downs, 1 run (pass failed)
BG — Emans, 77 pass from Donaldson (pass failed)
O — Gorski, 34 pass from Downs (Scherff pass from Downs)
BG — Kneesi, 1 run (Fisher kick)
BG — Fisher, 36 field goal
O — Downs, 1 run (not PAT attempted)

Category    BG    O
First downs    8    20
By rushing    6    8
By passing    2    11
By penalty    0    1
Total net yards    218    364
Rushing    85    135
Passing    133    229    
Attempts    21    24
Completions    7    16
Interceptions    1    0
Punts/average    8/22.0    6/33.5
Penalties/yards    9/58    6/50
Fumbles/lost    3/2    2/1
RUSHING: (BG) Kneesi, 15-29; Gutierrez, 4-24; Donaldson, 4-12; Espen, 4-28; Emans, 1-(minus 8). (O) Downs, 41-128; Gorski, 5-22; Tercha, 1-(minus 1); Scherff, 1-(mnus 14).
PASSING: (BG) Donaldson, 7-20-0—133; Emans, 0-1-1—0. (O) Downs, 16-24-0—229.
RECEIVING: (BG) Emans, 3-95; Carsey, 2-11; Powers, 1-19; Gutierrez, 1-8. (O) Gorski, 8-135; Tercha, 3-33; Scherff, 4-47; Soto, 1-14.
Last Updated on Saturday, 14 September 2013 08:25

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