The Taft Senators and the Badin Rams each attempted to snatch a loss from the jaws of victory. Both teams took turns making critical mistakes, but it was Taft that came out victorious in a wild shootout 26-25 at Virgil M. Schwarm Stadium.
Badin received the opening kickoff and on the second play of the drive, quarterback Jeff Smith threw a pass that was intercepted by Taft's Michael Williams. Four plays later, Senators' quarterback Anthony Taper connected on a 5-yard touchdown pass to LaDontay Buckley. The two-point conversion failed.
In the second quarter, Taft put together a nine-play, 77-yard drive that culminated with a 26-yard touchdown catch by DeAndre Goodwin. Taper's completion to Adolphus Washington successfully completed the two-point conversion to make the score 14-0.
Late in the second quarter Badin's Smith injured his left (non-throwing) hand and was replaced by sophomore Austin Reiman. Reiman had a tough time under center throwing an interception late in the second quarter and fumbled a ball early in the third quarter that was recovered by Jermaine Freeman.
The Freeman fumble recovery led to Taber's third touchdown throw of the night, this one a 36-yarder to Dewayne Stanford to give what seemed like at the time an insurmountable 20-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Alex Reiman returned the ball 60 yards, all the way to Taft 30-yard line. Washington was flagged for a late hit out-of-bounds on Reiman and the Rams started the drive on the Senators' 15-yard line.
Smith returned to the game at quarterback, wearing a glove to protect his injured left hand, and on fourth down threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Sanders cutting the Taft lead to 20-7.
On Taft's next possession, Taper threw an interception that Badin's David Guilford returned 23-yards for a touchdown. Luke Wurzelbacher's extra point attempt was blocked making the score 20-13.
Still in the third quarter, Smith threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Alex Reiman and then ran for a nine-yard touchdown. The extra-point kicks failed on both of those touchdowns, but those scores completed a run of 25 unanswered points by the Rams in the third quarter and giving Badin a 25-20 lead going into the fourth quarter.
With Badin still leading 25-20, Taft got the ball on its own 28-yard line with 6:31 left in the game. Taper led his team on a 13-play drive that climaxed with a 6-yard TD pass to Marcus Knox. The play was Knox's team leading seventh reception and Taper's fourth touchdown pass of the game. The two-point conversion once again failed making the score 26-25 Taft with just over a minute to play.
Badin got one last chance when Smith completed a long pass to Alex Reiman who stepped out of bounds at the two-yard line as time expired.
Badin (1-1) will travel to Ross next week in a battle of the Rams. Taft (1-1) will return next week to Schwarm Stadium, this time versus Hamilton.
- Postgame: Taft Head Coach Mike Martin
Written by: Brady Laber, TriStateFootball.com