Evansville gets back at Big Foot
But the Blue Devils learned Saturday there’s nothing like a little sweet revenge to clean the palate.
Derek Cashore scored three touchdowns, and the Blue Devil defense stuffed Big Foot at the 1-yard line with two minutes to play as Evansville held on for a 28-23 victory in a Division 4 second-round thriller.
Evansville (9-2) will play Rock Valley rival Brodhead (9-2) in a Level 3 game on either Friday night or Saturday. Brodhead defeated Lakeside Lutheran 49-14 on Saturday night.
The Chiefs (10-1) suffered their first loss of the season after winning the Rock Valley title for the first time since 1975.
Although Big Foot got the best of Evansville in the regular season finale (21-15), it will be the Chiefs turning in their equipment on Monday.
“The fans got their money’s worth,” Evansville coach Ron Grovesteen. “It was back and forth, and really it came down to us making one big defensive stand at the end.
“Big Foot’s got a very nice football team. We’re happy to get out of here with a win.”
The game was tied at 21-21 after three quarters. Evansville grabbed the lead midway through the fourth on quarterback Andrew Keister’s 5-yard scamper. Keister, who hit on 5-of-6 passes in the second half, connected with Cody Thompson on a 42-yard pass play that set up the Blue Devils first-and-5 at the five.
Big Foot took over at its own 34 with 7:23 to play and methodically moved down the field. Andy Jinkins hit Coty Kruckenberg on a 15-yard pass to move the ball to the Evansville 35, and five straight running plays pushed the ball all the way down to the Evansville 7-yard line. Mike Crusan bulled his way for four yards on first down and added two more on second down to set up third-and-goal at the one.
After no gain on third down, Big Foot took time out with 1:39 left to discuss the fourth down play. The Chiefs moved 2006 Rock Lineman of the Year Travis Frederick to center to allow Jinkins to run directly behind the massive 6-foot-5, 300-pound Frederick. The plan back fired as Evansville’s Sam Reed got a solid push on the play and grabbed a hold of Jinkins in the backfield.
“That was the play of the game,” Keister said of the goal-line stand. “It came down the same thing last year against Mayville, but today we were able to make the big stop.
“We had some turnovers on offense, but the defense really stepped up today. Especially on the last two drives.”
Keister took a safety in the end zone on fourth down with 27 seconds left to give the Blue Devils more room to operate. Thompson kicked off from the 20 and Big Foot took over at Evansville’s 36. On the next play, Adam George intercepted Dinkins at the 2-yard line to seal the victory.
Big Foot coach Rodney Wedig saw his team battle back from a 14-0 deficit to take a 21-15 third-quarter lead, but in the end, come up a ˝-yard short.
“Football really is a game of inches,” Wedig said. “That’s probably the first time all year that somebody has stopped us that close to the goal line.
“It would’ve been nice to go on in the playoffs because I really thought we could hang with anyone in our division,” Wedig said. “But it’s Evansville that is going to get the opportunity. This really hurts.”
EVANSVILLE 28, BIG FOOT 23
Evansville 7 7 7 7—28
Walworth Big Foot 0 13 8 2—23
Scoring summary: E—Derek Cashore, 1 run (Cody Thompson kick). E—Cashore, 2 run (Thompson kick). BF—Mike Crusan, 2 run (Andrew Fox kick). BF—Matt Fogerty, 39 fumble return (kick failed). BF—Mike Walker, 6 run (Cruzan run). E—Cashore, 1 run (Thompson kick). E—Keister, 5 run (Thompson kick). BF—Safety, quarterback ran out of end zone.
Statistics: First downs—E 12, BF 20. Rushes—E 37-98, BF 49-198. Yards passing—E 159, BF 110. Passes—E 15-9-1, BF 16-6-2. Fumbles—E 5-2, BF 4-4. Penalties—E 4-23, BF 6-45.-