The Eagles opened with a drive down to the Raiders’ 13 yard line and came up empty as they turned it over on downs. The Eagles defense held the Raider offense forcing them to punt the ball. Churubusco scored on their next possession in just four plays. After a one-yard gain by Mathewson, Josh LeFever worked his way through the Raiders’ defense for 33 yards on two carries down to the 13-yard line. Mathewson took it in from there to give the Eagles a 6-0 with 1:58 left in the first quarter.
The second quarter Southern Wells controlled the ball running 20 plays to Churubusco’s six. The Busco defense rose to the occasion on both drives as they halted the Raider offense, first on downs and then forcing them to punt the ball away. Churubusco took a 6-0 lead into the locker rooms.
Jordan Turner recovered a fumble on the first play of the second half giving the Eagles the ball at the Raiders’ 35-yard line. The Southern Wells defense stopped Mathewson on a fourth and one, turning the ball back to Southern Wells. Thirteen plays later the Raiders were in the end zone and the score was tied at 6-6, after the missed extra-point kick by Southern Wells.
Southern Wells opened the fourth quarter with a 16-play drive that covered 63 yards and took seven minutes off the clock. The drive began at their nine-yard line and ended with a sack by Mathewson as the Raiders turned the ball over on downs. Churubusco went three and out and held Southern Wells on their next possession. Jason Nicodemus had a key first down tackle for a loss giving the Raiders a second and thirteen. After two more run plays the Raiders had to punt the ball back to Churubusco. With 1:37 remaining in the game and the Eagles 65 yards away from the end zone it was looking like the game was heading to overtime. Mathewson carried for one yard and an incomplete pass gave the Eagles a third and nine. LeFever made an incredible catch on the pass from Kyle Monk. LeFever’s bobbling catch was good for 24 yards, moving the Eagles into Raider territory at their 40-yard line. Mathewson ran for 11 yards to the 29-yard line with 40 seconds left in the game. Then on the next play Mathewson took the pitch from Monk and straight-armed a would be Raiders’ tackler getting outside the defense and turned on the speed to outrun the Southern Wells players to the end zone. The Raiders tried a reverse play and fumbled the ball back to the Eagles with 11 seconds remaining. Churubusco took a knee and the celebration began for the Eagle players and fans.
“They had long drives especially in the second half and we came up with stops,” stated Coach Etzler. “That’s what it takes to win games in the playoffs, mental toughness and physical play.”
Monk led Churubusco on defense with 13 solo tackles and seven assisted tackles.
Churubusco’s 12-6 victory over Southern Wells advances them to the Sectional Championship at South Adams this Friday at 7:00 p.m.
(Josh LeFever concentrates on the ball making the catch and a 24 yard gain for the Eagles. LeFever had two carries for 33 yards to set up the first Eagle touchdown.) photo by hiatt