JETMORE – Jetmore-Hodgeman County rode the momentum of a controversial officiating call for a resounding 42-16 Eight-Man Division 2 semifinal football victory on a perfect Friday night.
The Cougars, down 8-0, were driving for a tying score when Blake Bahr lost the football after clearly hitting the ground at the Longhorn 24-yard line. Longhorn Trayton Coats was credited with a fumble recovery despite no official signaling a change of possession. Only one official, whose vision was blocked, was within 10 yards of the play.
The Longhorns, handed the football after a brief discussion, scored a touchdown for a 14-0 lead.
Trevor Morgan beat the Cougars on a 58-yard touchdown reception from Jacob Salmans. Eli Salmans added the 2-pointer for an 8-0 lead. Eli Salmans converted a 56-yard scoring drive on a 20-yard touchdown. Jacob Salmans converted a 3rd-and-10 on a designated quarterback scramble for a 14-0 lead to convert a first-and-24.
Longhorn quarterback Jacob Salmans rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns and completed two touchdown passes to Trevor Morgan. The Longhorns rushed for 262 yards and added 104 yards passing.
Jacob Salmans outfoxed the Cougars’ defense time-after-time with cutback runs and scrambles from pass formation.
“Jacob really ran hard and we missed tackles,” said Otis-Bison coach Travis Starr. “Their offensive line blocked and created running holes. What happened is they played good football.”
Hodgeman County (10-2) advances into next week’s state championship against Hanover (12-0).
Hodgeman County played near-perfect football to roar to a 28-0 halftime lead.
The Longhorns gained 213 first-half yards while the Cougars gained 78 yards. The Cougars’ Anton Foust was stopped on fourth down twice and lost yardage on 3rd-and-1 on the first drive.
“We didn’t convert our first downs,” Starr said. “They converted on third downs and we didn’t get stops.”
The Cougars (10-2) beat Hodgeman County 58-26 in the first meeting. Two-time state runner-up Otis-Bison missed a chance for the third state football championship game in school history.
Cougar linebacker Bevan Gradig led Otis-Bison with 12 tackles, including several for losses. He led an aggressive second-half defense that helped outscore the Longhorns 16-14 the second half.
“I don’t let the score affect the way I play,” Gradig said. “I’ll compete to the end of the game.”
Gradig said the Cougars did not respond to the Longhorns’ confident play.
“They came out more than to play than we were,” Gradig said. “We expected a fight and didn’t stand up to it. It took us a while to find our step tonight.”
Otis-Bison quarterback Anton Foust gained 134 yards and scored a second-half touchdown. Blake Bahr scored on an 8-yard touchdown. The Cougars gained 226 yards rushing and 64 yards passing after a 78-yard first half.
“After halftime, we responded, and that was better than than never,” Starr said. “We dug ourselves too big a hole. It takes a lot of effort and turnovers to come back.”
LONGHORNS 42, COUGARS 16
OB 0 0 8 8 — 16
HC 14 14 8 6 — 42
HC—Trevor Morgan 58 pass from Jacob Salmans (Eli Salmans run), 8:30
HC—Eli Salmans 20 run (run fails), 2:43
HC—Jacob Salmans 16 run (Eli Salmans run), 8:13
HC—Jacob Salmans 14 run (run fails), 2:39
HC—Jacob Salmans 10 run (Jacob Salmans run), 8:17
OB—Blake Bahr 8 run (Anton Foust run), 6:08
HC—Morgan 23 pass from Jacob Salmans (run fails), 6:03
OB—Foust 1 run (Foust run), 4:23
RUSHING—OB—42-226; Foust 23-134; Daniel Scott 7-49; Bahr 12-43; HC—48-262; Jacob Salmans 26-148; Eli Salmans 21-112; Morgan 1-3; Isaac Salmans 1-(-1).
PASSING—OB—Foust 4-12-0, 64; HC—Jacob Salmans 6-8-1, 104.
RECEIVING—OB—Maitland Wiltse 3-38; Bahr 1-26; HC—Morgan 4-92; Eli Salmans 1-12.