It was all about the clock during last Friday’s high school football matchup between the Hermann Bearcats and the St. Clair Bulldogs, but not in the way one would think. It wasn’t like the Owensville game where whomever had the ball last, would win. Losing the game to St. Clair 28-20, Coach Emmons described last Friday as an odd night, with both teams trying to eat up the clock, yet both having limited possession of the ball, alluding to a tough contest.
Saturday morning, speaking with sportscaster KLPW John Covington, Coach Emmons said, “It was the kind of game we expected.” “Both teams made mistakes which led to big plays. It was a fast ballgame, but there was so much time between plays it didn’t seem quite as intense as it should.”
The clock as a weapon
The Bearcats won the toss and elected to receive the kickoff. That was the first sign, something was different, as the team winning the toss usually kicks off, wanting the advantage to receive the ball first in the second half. Receiving the ball on the first set of downs, the Bearcats stalled on their own 35 and had to punt.
The Bulldogs took possession on their 36 and controlled the ball for almost nine minutes of Q1, as they marched down the field picking up three first and 10’s. At third down and four to go on the eight yard line, Bulldog running back Landon Roberts took the ball in for the touchdown. They kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 3:03 on the clock.
At the kickoff, the Bearcats took over on their 28 yard line and Coach Emmons knew he needed to wake up the game, should the lack of getting their hands on the ball start a slow mental slide towards Bulldog domination in the first half. Getting to the line and calling plays quickly visibly jarred the Bulldogs, trying to adjust to the new pace of the game. The Bearcats quickly picked up two first and tens, finding themselves on their own 48 yd. line as Q1 ended.
Q2 - 6.6 second Bearcat TD
With 3rd down and seven and the ball on the 46, the Bearcats were called for offsides, making it 3rd and 12. After a pickup of three, the Bearcats punted. Taking over, the Bulldogs pick up a first and ten, but fumble the ball. The Bearcats recovered. On the first play, rolling left, QB McKague pitches behind the running back hitting him on the shoulder pad, fumbling the ball and the Bulldogs recover. At 4th and five to go for a 1st and 10 on their own 36, they are stopped by a tough Bearcat defense with 6:38 left on the clock.
The Bearcats go to work marching the ball down the field with smart pass receptions over the middle to Trent Anderson and to Brody Fredrick, down to the 38 yard line with 3:47 on the clock, eating up almost four minutes of game time. Hermann drives down, until they are 4th and one yard to go on the 29. A McKague keeper keeps the drive alive until they wind up on the 11 yd. line in a 4th and five situation with just 6.6 seconds on the clock before half-time.
QB McKague goes to the air and hits Brennan Knipping in the end zone for a touchdown reception. Kenny Hoener kicks the extra point putting the score at 7-7 at the half. The drive ate up six and a half minutes on the clock in Q2.
Q3 - pick 6 and who let the dogs out?
St. Clair received the kickoff and were stopped on the 22 yard line. They got the ball to the 41 yd. line on a long pass reception to receiver Landon Roberts. They pick up another first down, getting the ball into Bearcat territory. After a couple offsides penalties, they find themselves at 2nd and 9 on their 29 yard line with only 6:33 left on the clock. Bulldog QB Dalton Thompson throws into the arms of Keegan Head for the pick-6, taking it 79 yards down field for the TD. Kenny Hoener kicks another field goal, making it 14-7, Bearcats, but not realizing it, they let the dogs out.
Taking the ball on their 36 after the kickoff, the Bulldogs went to work, quickly picking up two first downs, dominating Hermann’s right side to get outside and upfield. After a Bulldog offsides penalty with the ball on the 44, QB Thompson throws a bomb downfield to receiver Cole Venable, down to the two yard line. This wasn’t the first time, this receiver got behind the Bearcat secondary, almost unseen. Shane Stanfill punched it in and the extra point was good, as the Bulldogs tie it up 14-14.
Brennan Knipping had a nice kickoff return, getting the ball up to the 46 yd. line at mid-field, but the Bearcats couldn’t move the ball and a delay of game on 4th down caused them to punt.
Q4 - fireworks and countdown
The Bulldogs moved the ball and with the help of a Hermann personal foul, they got the ball 1st and 10 on Hermann’s 20 yd. line. On a QB delay-keeper, Thompson rolled around the left side to the goal line untouched with 9:54 on the clock. The Bulldogs powerful kicker put the ball through the uprights for the extra point, 14-21, Bulldogs.
At the kickoff, the Bearcats take the ball up to the 37 yd. line. At 2nd down and 4, QB McKague is sacked on the 43 yd. line. The next play, McKague throws long downfield for Carter Hemeyer. Three defenders trail him, the ball hits the arm of one of the defenders deflecting it into the hands of Hemeyer, but he is dropped on the 9 yd. line. On 2nd and 9 yds to score, McKague hits Hemeyer again in the end-zone corner for the touchdown with 6:56 on the clock. This time, the extra point was no good, putting the score at 20-21, Bulldogs.
St. Clair quickly came back, from having good field position from the kickoff on the 42 yd. line. QB Thompson ran the delay-keeper on the left side that fooled the Bearcats before, down to the 28. At 2nd and 9 on the 28, running back Landon Roberts scores and the extra-point is kicked. 20-28, Bulldogs.
The Bearcats took possession with 5:47 on the clock, but couldn’t get the first down from their 36 yard line.
The Bulldogs moved the ball down to the six yard line with more than a minute and in a class move, ran out the clock instead of attempting to score another TD.
Speaking to KLPW’s Covington, Coach Emmons said it was hard to end up on the wrong side of a good football game.
“It was the kind of game we expected,” he said. Both teams made mistakes which led to big plays. It was a fast ballgame, but there was so much time between plays it didn’t seem quite as intense as it should.”
Hermann had 162 total yds. of offense against the St. Clair Bulldogs. Brody Fredrick was the leading rusher with 25 of the total 70 yards rushing on the ground. Quarterback Chase McKague completed five of nine passes for 92 yards. On defense, the Bearcats had 44 tackles and 18 assists, with Trent Gleeson leading the tackling with 15 and four assists.
The Bearcats (5-2) play the Pacific Indians (1-7) on their home turf this Friday night, as the Indians look for their first conference win.
“They will be physical—they’ll always play hard under Coach Anderson,” said Coach Emmons.
He said in spite of their record, the Indians had some close scores and successes this season.
“They’re going to be hungry and we’re going to have to be ready to go because their record doesn’t indicate how good they are. It’s going to be a battle and a test for us, no doubt.”