LAKEVILLE, IN. – Facing the second largest deficit through three quarters of the season, but more importantly elimination from the state tournament, LaVille rallied to survive and advance.
Making big plays at crucial times, the Lancers overcame a 16-point Culver Community lead to advance to the IHSAA Class 1A, Sectional #41 football championship Friday against Triton. Kick-off is set for 7pm at Lancer Field.
The Lancers scored 19 unanswered points in the final 9:36 minutes, highlighted by a game-winning field goal with 11 seconds remaining by Dakota Figg.
“Culver has a tough ground and pound offense in which they used
their size and angles to their advantage,” said LaVille coach Will Hostrawser as his Lancers trailed. “Our conditioning assisted us in overcoming the first half deficit. At halftime we simply challenged our guys to play like we had 24 minutes left in our season
– because that was all we had at that point.”
LVHS started the scoring when Braxton Sauer forced his way into the end zone from three yards to narrow the gap to 16-6. Sauer also converted the 2-point conversion to make it 16-8 with 9:36 remaining.
“Our guys rallied when we turned the ball over deep in their territory and held them to a field goal – that sparked us,” explained Hostrawser following a crucial hold in the third quarter. “Edgar (Albarado) had a great punt return to give us good field position after that. Kolby (Watts) did a great job kicking it in gear running the ball. When we scored it was a shot in the arm – but when we got the 2 point conversion the electricity really started to flow throughout the guys.”
One could sense a change in momentum as LaVille cut the Culver lead to a touchdown and 2-point conversion.
“The motivation that really got us going was Edgar’s (#13) punt return and then the very next play when Kolby ran for a first down,” said captain Dakota Figg. “That is what lit the fire that we were missing all game.”
On the next LaVille possession, Sauer found Jimmy Fischer for a 64-yard TD pass to close to within 16-14. Jacob Good was the main receiver as Sauer found Good in the end zone for the 2-point and a 16-16 tie with under three minutes left in regulation.
The Lancer ‘D’ forced Culver on a 3-and-out and a punt with 2:08 remaining.
A fine punt return put the Lancers in Cavalier territory at the 43.
Kolby Watts broke free for a 27-yard run to push the ball deep inside the red zone.
Two plays later Figg was called upon to attempt the game-winning field goal.
“. . . People keep asking me if I was nervous,” said Figg “I truly wasn’t, as I took my steps back to kick it I just looked down at the Bible verses I had written on my wrist and I repeated them to myself in my head and at that point I just knew that I was going to make it and we were going to win the game.”
Figg, kicking against a light wind, had enough leg to convert a 31-yard field goal with 17 seconds left.
“We had a few nice plays to get us into field goal range,” said captain Riley Wagoner. “I was very excited and the team had confidence in Figg. A few years back, if I’m not mistaken, he made a game winning kick against them.”
The Lancer ‘D’ held the Cavs on the final pass attempt from the LaVille 43 as time ran out.
“Playing in a sectional championship game is great, but getting to play against Triton makes it even better because we feel like we let one slip away the first time we played them earlier in the year,” said captain Nathan Nichols Petersen. “They are a really good team and will challenge us with a lot of different things, but its up to us to do what we do and win a sectional championship on Friday.”
LaVille’s come-from-behind victory over Culver Community sets up a rematch of week #2 of the regular season. The Trojans picked up a 22-14 win in Bourbon on Friday Aug. 25.
“Playing for a sectional championship is an accomplishment because you have to win two games just to get here,” concluded Hostrawser. “The competition and stakes get higher each week. Triton is having a historical season. They have tons of talent and are playing extremely well. We must be on top of our game to compete.”
According to Figg, he and the other seniors are “… all very excited to play Triton. For the first time since before the seniors on are team have been in high school we have never lost to Triton until this year so this is most definitely a revenge game. We have something to prove to them and to every one else since we have been to the Sectional championship the last four years and have failed to bring home a trophy.”
* * * * *
45th ANNUAL IHSAA STATE FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT
Class 1A, Sectional #41
Friday Oct 20 Results
Winamac 28, South Central 20
Triton 42, Caston 13
Culver 49, West Central 14
LaVille 30, North Judson 0
Friday Oct. 27 Results
Triton 48, Winamac 29
LaVille 19, Culver 16
Friday Nov 3 Championship
Triton (8-3) at LaVille (7-4), 7pm
Friday Nov 10 Regional Possibilities
LaVille at Lafayette Central Catholic
LaVille at Pioneer
*Start time TBA