NORTH ROBINSON — The instant classic last weekend that saw Colonel Crawford drop a 35-34 decision to Fairview in the Division VI, Region 22 regional semifinal had many interesting elements.
ONSIDE KICK: Apaches head coach Doug Rakes, with his team trailing on the road 14-7, went for an onside kick with 10:08 left in the first half.
But senior Dylan Bell alertly pounced on the loose pigskin and Colonel Crawford got the ball back at the Fairview 46-yard-line.
6 YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST: The Eagles put on a clinic rushing the football. In the first half alone backs Tristan Cross and Cade Hamilton averaged about 6.5 yards per carry on the first few series.
The duo combined for 265 ground yards over the first two quarters as the offensive line opened gaping holes and both backs ran with conviction, often bowling over defenders.
WINNING PLAY: This one has a backstory.
Rakes said the winning two-point conversion, a trick play they named “Yippee,” was given to him by Napoleon head coach Tory Strock.
“We were up late talking and Tory said, ‘Hey Doug, I want to show you a play. Keep it for when you really need it.’ We kept it in our back pocket. To be honest with you, it wasn’t even my idea,” Rakes said.
Initially he was going to single up Caleb Frank on a side route. But receiver Luke Timbrook suggested that his coach call “Yippee” and it worked.
CLOSE CALL: The Eagles appeared to score right before halftime, already leading 27-14. But the play was marked inside the one as time ran out.
Eagles head coach Ryan Teglovic, along with most of the home crowd, thought Cross was in. Officials said otherwise.
“I don’t know if he was in or not. It looked like either he was in or I had a timeout, so it just didn’t go our way,” he said.
PASSING ATTACK: Quarterback Doug Rakes completed 32-of-50 pass attempts for 349 yards and three scores. Cade Ripke grabbed 10 passes for 136 yards. His offensive line kept him well protected against the tough Eagles defense.
OFFENSE APLENTY: The two clubs combined for 842 total yards; 361 for Fairview and 481 for Colonel Crawford.
NEXT: With the win, Fairview (9-0) will play Columbus Grove in the regional final Saturday at 7 p.m. Grove (9-0) downed Archbold (8-1), 34-20.
The Eagles conclude a magnificent 8-1 season. That included a Northern 10 Conference title, where they went 6-0, and home playoff wins over Seneca East 44-6 and Liberty Center 34-28 in overtime.