BY JIM MISUNAS
OTIS — Central Plains’ Alex Barton is accustomed to making big catches. Barton swung the momentum with two late-game interceptions. He clinched the Oilers’ 40-28 Central Prairie League football victory over Otis-Bison with a game-ending return for a touchdown.
Barton returned his first interception 28 yards to set up Dalton Beck’s go-ahead touchdown for a 32-28 lead with 49 seconds left in the game. Quarterback Devin Ryan completed a 20-yard pass to Barton for first-and-goal.
“I thought it was run. It was a lucky pass, a short pass,” Barton said. “Give credit to our defensive line for forcing that short pass.”
A 29-yard reception by Anton Foust from quarterback Kade Urban gave the Cougars one last play. But Barton intercepted a pass and dashed 76 yards for a game-ending touchdown on the final play.
The Oilers scored the final 26 points after trailing 28-14. Oilers Trey Schulte and Barton forced fumbles and Lee Letourneau and Dylan Lemieux recovered fumbles.
“I don’t ever remember winning a game like that, having to score the last 26 points,” said Central Plains coach Chris Steiner. “Alex Barton came up big. Anytime we’re down again, we’ll remember this game as an example of rallying back. It was a great comeback by our football team.”
Steiner said several back-ups stepped up – namely Jacob McAtee and Lawson Oeser, who scored a touchdown.
Central Plains (3-0, 3-0 CPL) has beaten two contenders Otis-Bison (2-1, 2-1 CPL) and Victoria (2-1, 2-1 CPL). Kinsley visits Central Plains and Otis-Bison plays at Victoria next week.
The Cougars were up 28-20 when Oiler Dalton Beck caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from Ryan after Lemieux’s recovery. The failed 2-pointer kept the Cougars ahead 28-26.
“It was two good teams battling,” said Otis-Bison Coach Travis Starr. “We had what we wanted. We had a 2-point lead the last few minutes of the ball game.”
The Cougars controlled the game starting when Blake Bahr sprinted 74 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first play. Anton Foust’s 2-point reception handed the Cougars an 8-0 lead. Alex Hickel’s 7-yard touchdown run for an 8-8 score with 2:12 to play in the opening quarter.
Urban’s interception set up another Urban to Foust touchdown reception for a 14-8 lead.
Maitland Wiltse’s fumble recovery set up a 3-yard touchdown reception by Wiltse for a 20-8 lead. Bahr’s 36-yard touchdown gave the Cougars a 28-14 lead after Barton’s 17-yard scoring reception from Ryan.
CENTRAL PLAINS 40,
CP 8 0 6 26 – 40
OB 8 6 14 0 – 28
OB—Blake Bahr 74 run (Anton Foust pass from Kade Urban), 11:45; CP—Alex Hickel 7 run (Devin Ryan run), 2:12; OB—Foust 3 pass from Urban (run failed), 9:40; OB—Wiltse 3 pass from Urban (pass failed), 5:36; CP—Alex Barton 17 pass from Ryan (pass failed), 2:55; OB—Bahr 36 run (Foust pass from Urban), 1:18; CP—Lawson Oeser 11 run (pass failed) 10:01; CP—Dalton Beck 58 pass from Ryan (run failed), 8:20; CP—Dalton Beck 2 run (Dylan Lemeiux run), 0:49; CP—Barton 75 interception return
RUSHING—CP—35-123; Hickel 10-51; Jacob McAtee 5-25; Ryan 8-16; Lawson Oeser 3-18; Dalton Beck 8-14; Anthony Oberle 1-3; Barton 1-(-1); OB—41-237; Bahr 17-166; Urban 14-58; Foust 5-18; Brad Lightfoot 3-(-6); Daniel Scott 1-0; Wiltse 1-1.
PASSING—CP—Ryan 16-24-1, 243; Hickel 1-2-0, 12; OB—Urban 12-16-2, 193.
RECEIVING—CP—Barton 8-114; Dalton Beck 4-97; Kade Beck 2-20; Hickel 2-15; Oberle 1-9; OB—Wiltse 4-85; Foust 6-81; Scott 1-24; Bahr 1-3.