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Big Foot rallies for overtime victory at Brodhead

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Doug Welch/Special to the Gazette
September 11, 2010
— Walworth Big Foot’s football team limped into Brodhead on Friday night for a key early-season Rock Valley showdown, but the defending WIAA Division 4 champions were strutting their stuff when they left town with a thrilling 21-20 overtime win over the Cardinals.

Big Foot was still licking its wounds from two season-opening nonconference defeats and faced Brodhead/Juda with several injuries—including the loss of starting quarterback Jake Wedig—when fill-in quarterback Carter Hehr rallied his team for 21 unanswered points just when it seemed Big Foot’s four-season Rock Valley winning streak was in jeopardy.


“I think we really grew up tonight,” said an elated Big Foot coach Rodney Wedig. “We were down 14-0, and our seniors finally realized this is conference play. It’s time to go.”


Wedig had just watched his defense come up with play of the game to stop Brodhead/Juda’s do-or-die two-point conversion attempt at the end of overtime and the conference opener, which left both teams at 1-2 for the season.


Hehr, a sophomore, fired a strike on the run to Michael Kunes for an 8-yard touchdown to knot the score at 14-14 with 2:33 left in regulation.


After the Big Foot defense forced a three-and-out, Kenneth Walker made a falling catch on his back of Hehr’s deep heave down the sideline for a 35-yard gain to the Brodhead/Juda 8 with four seconds left.


But fill-in freshman kicker Steve Gallagher, who made all three of his extra points, missed a field goal as time expired, and the Cardinals were relieved to get to overtime.


Brodhead/Juda’s relief was short-lived, however, when Walker took a handoff off tackle, darted outside and raced 25 yards for a touchdown on the first play of overtime. Gallagher’s kick gave Big Foot a 21-14 lead.


Then it was Brodhead’s turn to grind at the middle of the Big Foot defense as it had most of the second half. Cardinal fullback Jesse DeLorme carried four times for 19 yards in the overtime, bursting into the end zone from the 1-yard line on his final carry.


A gutsy call by Cardinal coach Jim Matthys had his team lining up for a make-or-break two-point conversion. Quarterback David Earleywine rolled right on an option—a play the Cardinals had used effectively all half—and looked to pass into the end zone.


But 6-foot-2, 225-pound Vaughn Bourassa stonewalled Earleywine as he looked for a receiver, setting off a jubilant celebration on the Big Foot sideline.


Matthys said there was never any doubt in his mind that the Cardinals needed to end the game with the two-point attempt.


“They had a lot of momentum and just scored 21 unanswered points,” Matthys said of the Chiefs. “We couldn’t stand there and go toe-to-toe with them the next three hours. Our entire coaching staff thought that’s what we had to do, and we thought we had the play to get it done.”


Wedig was relieved to have earned a victory.


“It was the best football we’ve played since November,” said Wedig, whose team ended last season with a 42-13 victory over Kewaunee in the Division 4 state title game.


BIG FOOT 21,


BRODHEAD/JUDA 20 (OT)


Big Foot 0 7 0 7 7—21


Brodhead/Juda 7 7 0 0 6—20


Scoring summary: B/J—Jesse DeLorme, 8 run (Josh Doherty kick). B/J—Alex Wallace, 67 pass from David Earleywine (Doherty kick). BF—Mason Dixon, 19 run (Steve Gallagher kick). BF—Michael Kunes, 8 pass from Carter Hehr (Gallagher kick). BF—Kenneth Walker, 25 run (Gallagher kick). B/J—DeLorme, 1 run (pass failed).


Statistics: First downs—BF 11, B/J 12. Rushing—BF 31-188, B/J 40-147. Yards passing—BF 70, B/J 155. Passes—BF 15-4-1, B/J 18-9-1. Fumbles—BF 1-1, B/J 1-0. Penalties—BF 1-5, B/J 11-97.



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