OTIS — Fumbles proved the difference as the Otis-Bison High School football team was eliminated from the Eight-Man Division-II state playoffs on Saturday afternoon by Thunder Ridge.
The Longhorns turned four Cougars fumbles into a couple touchdowns on their way to a 28-18 victory.
“The ball just wasn’t bouncing our way,” Otis-Bison head coach Travis Starr said. “We caused some forced fumbles on them, too. They just got theirs back. If you lay the ball on the ground, obviously with a good team like that, they’re going to put some of them in the end zone.”
Ahead 12-6, the Longhorns were able to widen the gap with a 37-yard touchdown run by Trent Rietzke on their first possession of the second quarter.
Nearing the end of the third quarter, the Cougars finally forced a turnover of their own, recovering a fumble on the Longhorns’ 25.
Dylan Wissman fumbled the ball four yards from the goal line, keeping the Longhorns two touchdowns ahead.
Otis-Bison scored on its next possession on a 1-yard dive by quarterback Kole Urban.
Urban finished with 27 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He also completed four passes for 55 yards.
“He did well,” Starr said. “He did what he needed to do to take some of the pressure off Dylan. He just didn’t do enough of it.”
Longhorns fullback Trevor Lowe responded with a 44-yard TD scamper.
Urban scored another 1-yard touchdown, but Thunder Ridge ran the clock down to keep the Cougars from clawing back.
The first half saw five fumbles between the two teams, the difference being the three Cougars fumbles resulted in turnovers, while the Longhorns fell on theirs.
Otis-Bison got the ball to start the game, but a Wissman fumble was recovered by Thunder Ridge’s Derrick Comes.
Wissman finished with a team-leading 73 rushing yards. He finishes his senior season with 1,871 rushing yards and 40 TDs.
“I’m sure that’s what their whole plan was all week, key in on No. 2,” Starr said. “He’s been a great running back for us. In the open field, he has the ability to make people miss, but they were able to keep him contained.”
On the ensuing drive, Lowe scored on a 25-yard run, giving the Longhorns a 6-0 lead. Lowe finished with 155 yards.
“That fullback they have is a tough kid,” Starr said. “He’s a tough runner. You can hit him at the line of scrimmage, and he’s going to pick up three or four extra yards. You just can’t let that happen to you.”
Otis-Bison knotted the score with a 27-yard run on an option play by Urban.
In the second quarter, the Longhorns recovered another fumble and turned it into six points.
Quarterback Garrett Krueger completed a 5-yard pass to Dalton Miner for a TD, making it 12-6 heading into halftime.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Eight-Man Division-II State Playoffs
Thunder Ridge 28, Otis-Bison 18
Thunder Ridge 6 6 8 8 — 28
Otis-Bison 6 0 0 12 — 18
Thunder Ridge — Trevor Lowe 25 run (run failed), 8:39
Otis-Bison — Kole Urban 27 run (run failed), 1:26
Thunder Ridge — Dalton Miner 5 from Garrett Krueger (run failed), 5:22
Thunder Ridge — Trent Rietzke 37 run (Krueger run ), 9:59
Otis-Bison — Urban 1 run (pass failed), 7:20
Thunder Ridge — Lowe 44 run (Greg Yoxall run), 5:12
Otis-Bison — Urban 1 run (run failed), 4:09