Hampshire wins thriller at Prairie Ridge, 43-42
In a game featuring dazzling special teams and long touchdowns through the air and on the ground Friday night, the feeling was that the team that could make that last special play of the night would come away with the win.
As Prairie Ridge hosted Hampshire, it was the visiting Whip-Purs scoring a touchdown with less than a minute to go and then converting a two-point conversion to earn a 43-42 Fox Valley Conference win.
On their final drive of the game, Hampshire (4-2, 4-2) marched 80 yards on 8 plays ending with quarterback Tyler Fikis throwing a 17-yard pass to Zach Vodraska to bring the Whip-Purs within a point of Prairie Ridge, 42-41. Hampshire coach Jake Brosman made the call to attempt the two-point conversion to take the lead. Running back Raymond Hill made that the right decision by pounding it in for the successful try and to clinch the win.
"It was a high emotion game, a lot of energy on both sides and for us to come back the way we did just showed the character of the team. We've come a long way to react the way we did tonight," Brosman said.
This game featured a little bit of everything that makes for a classic back-and-forth battle. This was illustrated best at the end of the first half. In the span of the final :29, the teams combined for three touchdowns, highlighted by an 85-yard touchdown run by Prairie Ridge's Tyler Vassey and an 80-yard return for touchdown by Hampshire's Vodraska.
The scoring kept rolling in the second half. After Hampshire scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, Prairie Ridge (4-2, 4-2) used two big plays in the fourth quarter to tie the game and then take a lead. Vasey scored on a 46-yard touchdown run and fellow running back Zach Bentsen raced 59 yards for another Wolves touchdown.
Vasey provided a spark to the Wolves in his first game action of the year. Returning from an injury, the junior scored three touchdowns on the night: one rushing, one receiving and one on the kickoff return.
"It was nice to have him back, glad he had the chance to get back, he was making plays and that was a positive for us tonight," Prairie Ridge coachChris Schremp said.
Vasey ended with 66 yards rushing and 85 receiving.
Prairie Ridge quarterback Mason Loucks threw for 114 yards and running back NathanGreetham rushed for 93 yards on 20 carries.
The winning fourth quarter drive for Hampshire had its challenges. Fikis had to miss three plays on the drive forcing tight end Devin Yeats to step in at quarterback at a crucial time and he kept the team marching.
"I was definitely nervous. I just started practicing at quarterback yesterday, but it was satisfying to move the team, whether it was 30 yards or 100 yards," said Yeats, who also finished with 92 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Fikis led the Whip-Purs offense, producing 210 passing yards with two touchdowns passing and rushing for 112 yards. The junior knew this was a special win.
"Prairie Ridge is so tough. They hit hard and we knew it would be a battle, but our team is resilient and to fight back the way we did tonight is one of the best experiences I have ever had playing football," Fikis said.