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Falcons block last-second field goal to win thrilling L&C opener

Junior DL Jacob Wood blocked kick as time expired

Justin Addison, Editor/Publisher
Posted 9/12/23

The Fayette Falcons won a last-second thriller over Scotland County, 36-35, Friday night at home after junior Jacob Wood blocked the go-ahead field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter.

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Falcons block last-second field goal to win thrilling L&C opener

Junior DL Jacob Wood blocked kick as time expired


The Fayette Falcons won a last-second thriller over Scotland County, 36-35, Friday night at home after junior Jacob Wood blocked the go-ahead field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter.

After giving up a two-touchdown halftime lead, the Falcons went up by one point late in the fourth quarter. But Scotland County drove all the way to the Falcon 10-yard line on its next possession. With just 4.7 ticks left on the clock, Scotland County set up for the field goal on second down. If good, the Tigers would march off the field with a two-point victory. That’s when Wood got a hand on the ball to block the kick and preserve the heart-stopping victory for the Falcons.

The home stands erupted, and the Falcon sideline jumped for joy as the game clock read all zeros with the score Fayette 36, Visitors 35.

“We sent two or three people through the gap and told them to blow it up,” said Fayette coach Kole Hinton.

The Falcons called a timeout before the field goal attempt with the hopes of freezing the kicker.

“We prepared for it. He’d been on the money all night, so I didn’t think they’d try to go for anything else,” Hinton said. “The big thing was understanding that we had to block it.”

The play came at the end of a rough second half for the Falcons, who led 28-14 at halftime. Scotland County turned the tables on Fayette in the third quarter. After taking over at midfield for their second drive of the half, Tigers freshman quarterback Dane Blessing connected with senior Elias Hatfield on a long pass play to the Fayette 22-yard line. Two plays later, Hatfield ran for a five-yard touchdown. The point-after kick was good, bringing Scotland County within one touchdown.

The Tigers struck again on their next drive, which started on the Fayette 38 after Hatfield intercepted a pass from Fayette quarterback Kaleb Friebe. Moments later, Blessing hit junior Vince Dale for a touchdown pass. Once again, the kick was good, tying the game at 28-28.

Scotland County then took the lead halfway through the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by Hatfield to go up 35-28.

“They made some adjustments, finding where our weak spots were,” Hinton said about the second-half turnaround. “We still had a few mental errors. They just don’t show up until people highlight it like they did. In the first half, we were able to get away with it.

“Offensively, we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. That was just them wanting it more than we did. We ran the same stuff in the second half that we did in the first.”

With time slipping away, Fayette had only one more chance to score. The Falcons inched their way downfield. On third-and-seven, with 1:55 left on the clock, Friebe hit junior running back Micah Estes on a pass to the SC 13-yard line to give Fayette a fresh set of downs within striking distance. Two plays later, sophomore powerhouse Carter Vroman blasted the ball across the endzone from two yards out to bring his team within one point of the lead with 42.3 seconds left.

With the game on the line, Hinton called a timeout to set up the play for the two-point conversion. The play would be a pass to tall sophomore wide receiver Payton Oeth.

“I’m always a guy that wants to go for it,” Hinton said. “It still looked a little shaky because they’d been trailing him all night. I told him we were going to throw it up, and he was going to go get it. And he got it.”

Friebe took the snap, rolled out to his left, and slung the ball to Oeth in the corner of the endzone.

“We pulled Payton to the left, trying to sneak him through traffic,” Friebe recalled after the game. “He found the gap. The safety was on him, so I had to find a place to put the ball where the safety couldn’t get it. Payton put a heck of a catch on it.”

The successful conversion gave the Falcons a one-point lead with 42.3 seconds remaining.

“The only thing I was really thinking was, ‘Don’t drop this,’” recalled Oeth after the game. “He threw it, and I was kind of covered. It was a dime from Kaleb Friebe. He just placed it perfectly. You couldn’t ask for a better play.”

The game appeared to be well in hand for Fayette. But a big kickoff return by Scotland County freshman Beau Triplett to the Fayette 34-yard line gave the Tigers a final chance. SC inched its way to the 10-yard line before finally setting up for the ill-fated field goal with 4.7 seconds left.

The Falcons ended the game with 430 total yards of offense. Vroman ran for 220 of the team’s 302 rushing yards on 16 carries with three touchdowns on the ground. Estes picked up 67 yards on 14 carries. Friebe ran the ball seven times for 28 yards.

In the air, Friebe finished 8-for-17 for 119 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Oeth led the receiving game with five grabs for 90 yards, two touchdowns, and the winning two-point conversion.

“He doesn’t realize how talented and good he really is. And he’s so coachable,” Hinton said about his sophomore wide receiver. “This is his first time on a varsity field. But he’s so talented. He has decent speed, and he can go up and get the ball.”

Out of the backfield, Estes made two catches for 26 yards. Vroman had two grabs for 12 yards.

The win improves Fayette’s record to 2-1 on the season with a perfect start to Lewis & Clark Conference play. Scotland County drops to 0-3 overall.

The Falcons head back out on the road Friday for a conference bout with rival Westran in Huntsville. 

“We’re kind of where we want to be with some wins under our belts,” Hinton said. “Going on the road is always hard. The challenge is getting better every week. If we have a good week of practice, I think we’ll put ourselves in a position to win. It will be a good conference game.”

Next Friday, Fayette returns to Thomas S. Davis Field to open a three-week home stand against Marceline, Maysville, and Salisbury.


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