Trojans lose OT heartbreaker at Ellsworth

 

ELLSWORTH – The Beloit Trojans faced their first road challenge on Friday night in week two of the high school football season. Four quarters were not enough to settle the closely contested, back and forth game which was locked in a 22-22 tie at the end of regulation. Ellsworth prevailed with a touchdown in the first overtime period and won by a final score of 28-22.

After a Beloit turnover on downs, near midfield to start the game, Ellsworth took over at the Beloit 49-yard line. Carson Cox make a tackle for a five-yard loss on the Bearcats first offensive play, but quarterback, Zach Schneider, picked up 17 yards on a run to the right. Four plays later, facing fourth down and five, Schneider found Branson Schulte on a wide-open pass of 30 yards for the game’s first touchdown. The two-point conversion was added by Gwinner, and it was 8-0 Ellsworth with 7:45 to play in the first quarter.

Beloit started their second possession at their own 42-yard line. Tate Ahlvers rattled off a huge run up the right side for 55 yards. It was first and goal inside the Ellsworth five. On third and goal, from just outside the two-yard line, running back Zach Meier lost the football during the handoff exchange with quarterback Hudson Gray. Ellsworth recovered the fumble and took over on offense.

However, on third down, Creighton Johnson got to Schneider on a pass play. He dragged the quarterback to the turf for a safety, with the help of his teammates, and the score was 8-2 Ellsworth with 2:54 to play in the quarter.

Moving into the second quarter the defenses were doing their job until Beloit took over at their own 43-yard line after a Bearcat punt. On third down, Gray found Blaine Burks on a roll-out pass and run for 17 yards and a first down. Later, on fourth and seven, Gray got absolutely drilled by an Ellsworth defensive lineman as he released a perfect 32-yard pass up the left side to Camden Harris for a touchdown. Colin Chandler’s extra point was good, and Beloit took their first lead at 9-8 with 3:23 remaining in the first half. It would stand for the halftime total.

Ellsworth opened the third quarter, as they did the first, with a touchdown to retake the lead at 14-9. Schneider scored on a six-yard quarterback draw with five receivers spreading the field. The score capped a seven play, 61-yard drive over the span of two minutes and five seconds.

Ahlvers took the ensuing kickoff into Ellsworth territory, and Beloit started their next drive 47 yards from the end zone. Zach Meier carried the bulk of the load for the Trojans with three rushes on a six-play drive which he capped with a six-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but Beloit retook the lead at 15-14.

Ellsworth battled back in the see-saw affair and cashed in on a 10 play, 67-yard drive finished off by a 13 yard touchdown run by Schneider. He also added the two-point conversion to give the Bearcats a 22-15 lead. Later in the fourth, with Beloit back on defense, Ellsworth made a risky call. They went for a fourth and one from their own 27-yard line. The Trojans made the stop, and took over on a short field.

Five plays later, Hudson Smith scampered into the end zone from 13 yards out. The extra point kick by Chandler knotted the game up at 22 with 5:58 to play. On the final drive of regulation, Ellsworth moved the ball down the field and had third and 12 on the Trojans 29 with 8.8 seconds remaining. Schneider looked to Base in the left side of the end zone to try and win the game. However, he was double covered and Hudson Smith picked-off the pass to send the game to overtime.

In the overtime period, Beloit was unable to score on their possession from the 10-yard line. The Bearcats got their offensive shot from the 10-yard line as well. On third and goal on from the two, Schneider followed blockers over the right side to score the walk-off touchdown.

Tate Ahlvers led Beloit offensively with 17 carries for 78 yards. Zach Meier notched 30 yards on seven carries and a touchdown. Hudson Smith carried the ball six times for 36 yards and a touchdown. Hudson Gray ran for 13 yards on six carries and was 7 of 14 passing for 64 yards, including the highlight reel touchdown pass to Camden Harris. The Bearcats senior carried the ball 30 times for 137 yards and three touchdowns including the game winning score. He also threw for 166 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions completing 15 of 26 attempts. Ellsworth committed nine penalties for 75 yards compared with just two for 20 yards against Beloit.

It was the first time since 2009 that Ellsworth defeated Beloit, and only the second time in the last 17 meetings between the two schools on the gridiron. Ellsworth improved to 2-0 on the season as well as in league play. Beloit dropped to 1-1 and 0-1 in league games.

The Trojans will once again hit the road this Friday when they travel to Salina to face Sacred Heart with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.

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