ST. PAUL — Offensive fireworks were in abundance Friday evening as the St. Paul Indians pulled off a seismic upset, toppling the visiting Oswego Indians, 68-66.
With the contest knotted at 54-54 just past the midpoint of the fourth quarter, St. Paul quarterback Trey Peters took matters into his own hands. Peters broke off a 61-yard touchdown run. He also plowed into the end zone on the two-point play to give St. Paul a 62-54 advantage.
Oswego replied on the ensuing possession with a five-play drive capped off on wing-back Jace Landes' seven-yard scamper to paydirt. Landes, however, was stopped short on the two-point attempt and Oswego trailed 62-60 with 2:57 showing on the clock.
Oswego was back in possession with 1:43 remaining, but pinned at their own two-yard line.
They need just two plays to drive the length of the filled, as Jake Hutchinson's 11-yard touchdown romp, followed by another missed two-point attempt left Oswego with a 66-62 advantage.
Facing a fourth-and-8 near midfield, Oswego was flagged for a pass interference penalty, keeping St. Paul's hopes alive.
With Oswego's defense coming up with key stops, the contest came down to one final play. On fourth-and-goal with nine seconds remaining, Peters rolled from the pocket and connected with Zane Sexton in the back corner of the end zone. Sexton, who had defenders draped all over him, made an over-the-shoulder catch while managing to get one foot down inbounds as went tumbling to the ground.
St. Paul head coach Keith Wiatrak reflected on a blowout loss to Sedan in last week's season-opener.
So, we kind of had to suck up our pride," Wiatrak said. "We had a rough week of practice — called out some people. In my opinion, two great football teams played tonight. You can say it was an upset, but I feel like my team came to play tonight."
Wiatrak said his staff scouted Oswego to the fullest extent.
"We went back three years on game-film he said," noted that his focus was Oswego's defensive tendencies, in relation to their pulling guards. "I tried to pick out 10 to 12 plays that I felt would work out real good against the way they lined on our pro set. And we ran them all in the first half, so the second half was just grinding it out. Obviously, we didn't play good defense — but it's 8-Man football, so we'll take the victory."
Sexton was Peters' go-to target on the final offensive play, as the dynamic Landon Beachner was sidelined with an injury sustained earlier in the frame.
"(Sexton) didn't even know the play," Wiatrak said. "I told him to 'just get to the back of the end zone, and run flat — and Trey made a heck of a throw to the corner."
Peters, meanwhile, gashed Oswego's defense for 200-plus yards on the ground and four touchdowns.
"I thought he played real well," Wiatrak said. "I thought our line blocked better, and we schemed it out better as coaches, and gave him some daylight to run to. I thought him and (fullback) Kisar (Wiatrak) ran real hard tonight."
Oswego head coach Matt Fowler lauded both squads for the all-out effort.
"What a terrific football game to be a part of," he said. "Both sides really fought their tails off. It was anybody's game down the stretch. Both sides were totally exhausted and spent, and yet, kept finding a way to make a play. And they made one more than we did."
Fowler said the loss definitely hurts.
"It's disappointing — it stings," he said. "But just like we talked to the team about (post-game) if it doesn't hurt, it means you weren't very invested."
Fowler discussed his club's game-plan.
"Just be physical and wear them down," he said. "And, (St. Paul) ever wore down."
Fowler said his squad may have been adversely affected by their opponent's forfeit in last week's scheduled season-opener with Chetopa.
"I always say that a team makes their biggest improvement from Week 1 to Week 2," Fowler said. "So, for us, this is Week 1. But, take nothing away from St. Paul. My goodness, those guys played their guts out. They're so much better than they were next year. And, honestly, from film study, they're so much better than they were next week."
St. Paul (1-1) squares off with Yates Center in a Three Rivers League clash — while Oswego (0-1) squares off in a road TRL road matchup with Altoona-Midway.
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