By: Nathan Bloechl — firstname.lastname@example.org
Humboldt, Iowa — Something changed. Something within the Humboldt Wildcat halftime locker room was dramatically altered. Down 22-0 into the half, Humboldt came out of the break focused, fired up and ready to make in roads on a double-digit LeMars lead.
And that they did.
The turning point was early in the third quarter when Humboldt’s defense continued to stifle the Bulldog attack and forced a LeMars punt from their end-zone.
On the punt, Humboldt junior Owen Terwilliger blocked the kick. It was eventually recovered by Sawyer Savery in the end-zone for the first of three Humboldt second-half touchdowns.
Not three minutes later, Humboldt charged in for their second score, a four-yard run from junior tailback Tyler Vitzhum. Vitzhum finished the night with 22 carries for 76 yards.
As the game stagnated in early part of the fourth quarter, junior signal-caller Joey Busse was forced to leave the game due to an ankle injury.
His mom reported that it was a high-ankle sprain.
With his starter out for the game, Head Coach Greg Thomas made a gutsy call, opting to turn to wide receiver Jamison Heinz over nominal backup Jacob Thurm in the game’s waning moments.
The move paid off.
With under a minute to go in the ball-game, the Wildcats were driving inside LeMars’ ten-yard line when center Owen Newton snapped the ball over Heinz’s head in the shotgun resulting in an eleven-yard loss.
Without a timeout, Humboldt scrambled back to the line of scrimmage. Chaotically, the Cats lined up as fans screamed down from the bleachers to run a play.
Heinz took the belt-high — much better — snap and lofted a rainbow, spiraling pass to the left end-zone, that felt as if was in the air forever.
Senior wide receiver Eli Sande snatched the pass over the LeMars cornerback and fell harmlessly to the south end-zone with two feet in and total control of the ball for a dramatic, nearly game-tying touchdown.
The Wildcats would need to go for two to complete the comeback.
Humboldt rolled Heinz out of the pocket, and while nothing opened right away, Heinz patiently waited for the defense to flow towards him, then through across his body to the diving Sawyer Savery who cradled the pass and converted the two.
Overtime saw Humboldt play offense first with the Cats taking over at the ten yard line with four downs to score.
On the first play, Heinz through to the right sideline and connected with Savery again, in what looked like a touchdown. However the referee marked Savery out at the one-yard line. Humboldt would score on their next play on a punishing Tyler Vitzhum rush.
The ball then went back to LeMars who inched to the one-yard line before a final fourth down play. Humboldt’s front line blew up the outside run to end the game in dramatic fashion. Humboldt coaches and players embraced.
Humboldt scored the final 29 points in the game en route to the victory. They ended the year 3-6, a one-game improvement from last year.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton and Sioux City Heelan went on to the playoffs with the Warriors winning the district.