LAKEVILLE, IN. – Will Hostrawser, LaVille’s head football coach, called for someone to step up and make a play in Friday’s IHSAA Class 1A, Sectional #41 football championship.
Following a LaVille 3-0 halftime lead, Triton quarterback James Snider found Ethan Berry on a 47-yard TD pass to put Triton up, 7-3.
“When Triton scored to take the lead, I told the guys that was not going to beat us,” recalled Hostrawser. “We needed someone to step up and make a play.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Triton had the ball 3rd-and-13 at its own 33-yard line. LaVille’s Riley Wagoner found his opportunity to step up as he picked off Triton quarterback James Snider for a crucial play.
“Riley Wagoner did just that getting that interception – that ignited our guys,” said Hostrawser. “There was a new energy on the sideline.”
On the next LaVille series, the Lancer offense handed the Trojan defense a steady diet of Kolby Watts who rushed for all 29 yards in the three-play drive, including what would be the game-winning touchdown. Watts packed bags for an 8-yard TD run.
The Lancers held off the Trojans, 10-7, in an instant classic. LaVille (8-4) will face Class 1A, No.1-ranked Pioneer (12-0) on Friday Nov. 10. The game will be played in Royal Center, IN., at PHS. Kick-off is at 7:30pm.
“I had a hunch we were finally going to finish a drive – and Kolby Watts did just that for us,” explained Hostrawser.
After dominating the first quarter, LaVille got on the board first when Dakota Figg hit a 32-yard field goal.
“Putting points up first was a nice shot in the arm for us,” said Hostrawser. “Dakota has been great kicking the ball this year – his last two field goals have been HUGE for us. One of our seniors stepping up in a big way.
“We knew coming into this game we had to make it a physical one,” continued Hostrawser. “Triton has an extremely potent running game that has kind of been hidden in plain sight all season. We felt we had to try and take that away as best we could. The other thing you constantly fear with their offense is the big play – they could do it at any time. Luckily we only gave up one big play – their only touchdown.”
With less than two minutes left in regulation, LaVille gained possession of the ball after Triton missed a missed 30-yard field goal attempt to tie the game. It looked like a couple of first downs would ice the game for the Lancers. However, on the third play from scrimmage, LaVille fumbled and Triton took over at the Lancer 18-yard line.
“When we turned the ball over late deep in our territory,” recalled Hostrawser. “I thought Triton was just far enough out – if we could just somehow get them to a 4th down we could at least get to overtime holding them to a field goal.”
The Lancer ‘D’ held, allowing five yards on first down, no gain on second down, then an incomplete pass forced the Trojans into a fourth down. Triton would set up for a field goal attempt, but not before Hostrawser called timeout.
“Our defense stepped up and got it done,” said Hostrawser of the final Triton series of plays. “When they lined up for the field goal – I called timeout. In the huddle, I asked for a strong rush up the middle because their QB (who was their holder) was not very mobile and I thought pressuring him would rush a decision if they faked it. When they lined up in their field goal formation after the timeout, they didn’t have a kicking block – so I figured a fake was coming. Our guys executed it just as I had asked – rushing hard up the middle and covering their receiver – they did a great job.”
The Lancer ‘D’ pressured the play and Triton tossed an incomplete pass, giving the ball over to LaVille. All that was left was to take a knee and let the final seconds tick off the clock.
“Winning the sectional is a super special feeling,” said Hostrawser of the first football title since 2003. “In football they are extremely hard to come by because you have to string together three solid games against tough competition. I will not soon forget just standing and watching our students, fans, and community celebrate together on the field. The pure joy and sense of achievement and pride was very evident.”
Well Done, Coach!