Big Foot wins last-second thriller
After fumbling with 3:15 remaining and his Walworth Big Foot football team trailing undefeated McFarland, 25-18, the Chiefs’ sophomore back-up quarterback marched the defending WIAA Division 4 state champions 75 yards for the go-ahead scores as they overtook the Spartans, 26-25.
The Rock Valley Conference victory as time expired was the Chiefs’ 24th straight in the conference and handed fifth-ranked McFarland only its second league loss since joining the Rock Valley in 2008.
Big Foot (2-2) improved to 2-0 in the conference and grabbed the undisputed South lead. McFarland (3-1, 1-1) fell from a first-place tie in the North.
“It was really hard to keep my head up after giving away that fumble,” said Hehr, who has replaced injured Jake Wedig. “My teammates on the sideline were picking me up and told me that the defense would stop them. They helped me through that.”
As scripted, the Big Foot defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing series, but the Chiefs also burned all three timeouts before Hehr and his offense got the ball back at the Big Foot 25 with 2:10 left.
From there, Hehr took over with a 4-yard, fourth-down pass to Kenneth Walker to start the drive, followed by 12- and 9-yard strikes to Matt Ripkey. With 30 seconds left, Hehr lofted a 23-yard pass to Michael Kunes, followed by a keeper around the left end for 20 yards before falling out of bounds at the McFarland 2-yard line with 13 seconds left.
“When Carter fumbled, he came over to the sidelines, and he was hanging his head, and I told him, ‘We were going to get the ball back, but he had to keep his head in the game,’ ” Big Foot coach Rodney Wedig said. “Boy, how he executed that final drive—wow!”
The drive seemed to stall after Hehr was stopped for no gain with 13 seconds left, and his spike to stop the clock came with no time left. However, the officials ruled the spike occurred with :00.3 remaining, which allowed for another play.
Running out of the wildcat formation, Jordan Gottman took advantage and scored to pull Big Foot within 25-24.
“The way the referee explained it to me that being in his position looking right at the clock, he saw three-tenths on the clock at the snap of the ball,” McFarland coach Paul Ackley said. “Give credit to Big Foot. They stepped up when they had to step up.”
Hehr capped off the dramatic finish by running an option for the two-point conversion attempt and pitched to Walker, who stretched the ball across the goal-line for the winning conversion.
“This was definitely an escape win,” Wedig admitted.
BIG FOOT 26, McFARLAND 25
Walworth Big Foot 0 7 8 11—26
McFarland 7 8 3 7—25
Scoring summary: M—Jordan Smith, 20 run (Tyler Wedel kick). M—Safety, team. WBF—Josh Crump, 85 punt return (Sean Kivlin). M—James Runde, 46 pass from Wedel (kick failed). M—FG, Wedel, 40. WBF—Jordan Gottman, 9 run (Carter Hehr run). WBF—FG, Kivlin, 21. M—Wedel , 6 run (Wedel kick). WBF—Gottman, 3 run (Kenneth Walker run).
Statistics: First downs—WBF 13, M 16. Rushing—WBF 33-154, M 39-173. Yards passing—WBF 208, M 219. Passes—WBF 20-9, M 19-14. Fumbles—WBF 2-2, M 1-0. Penalties—WBF 9-35, M 5-45.