St. Viator wins OT thriller to punch playoff ticket
There was a never a doubt in Gabe Glodz' mind.
"When I lined up to kick the ball, I knew I was going to make it," said Glodz, a junior, who also plays midfield for St. Viator's soccer team.
"I pictured all the guys on my team jumping on me an celebrating."
True to his thoughts, Glodz booted a 25-yard field goal from the left hash that split the uprights and lifted St. Viator past St. Patrick 24-21 in overtime.
The win gave St. Viator (5-4, 2-1) the victory it needed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. And just like five years ago, the Lions, who are seeded 12th in Class 5A, will be traveling to Sterling for their opening round playoff game.
The Lions also earned a share of the CCL/ESCC Purple division title, tying St. Pat's and Carmel.
"We have a lot of teams in recent years playing against a quality schedule," St. Viator coach Dave Archibald said. "I am so proud of this group for being so resilient, fighting a hard schedule and making it into the bracket."
It was a gritty performance for the Lions. But they were able to come up with big plays when they needed them.
"I have been working all year for this," said Michael Nix, who had five receptions for 113 yards and touchdown.
"We kept going to me and I wasn't coming out of the game. This is great stuff and we are going to the playoffs."
It was Nix' catch on a 55-yard pass from Cooper Kmet that began the turnaround for Viator.
St. Pat's (4-5, 2-1), which was eliminated from the playoffs with the loss, dominated play early. The Shamrocks ran 25 plays to the Lions' five as they took a 7-0 lead.
Nix then hauled in a deep post play to move the ball to the Shamrock 1. On the next play, Jayden Franzen crashed over to score and tie the game at 7-7.
St. Pat's would score just before the half to lead 14-7.
It was then Viator's turn to dominate play.
With the wind, the Lions held the ball for almost the entire third quarter. They then tied the game at 14-14 on a 5-yard touchdown run.
In a winner-take-all game, it can come down to gambles and the Lions rolled the dice and won. They pooched the ensuing kickoff into the wind. The 25-mile an hour breeze knocked the ball down, allowing Nicky Pastore to recover it for the Lions at the Shamrock 34.
Four plays later, Kmet connected with a wide open Nix to put the Lions up 21-14 with 9:01 to play.
"I came out of nowhere to start," said Kmet, who is a sophomore and was 8-of-16 for 165 yards.
"This team just wanted to back me up. We fought hard and just wanted to win."
St. Pat's was able to tie the game with 3:45 to play.
The Shamrocks drove to the Lions' 3 in overtime. But on third down, they fumbled a handoff and John Kaiser pounced on the ball for the Lions.
St. Viator was backed up on its first play in overtime due to a holding penalty. But runs by Jake VanBooven moved the ball the Shamrocks' 7, setting the stage for Glodz' kick.