For 27 minutes in last Friday night’s football game, the Van-Far/Community R-VI squad found itself in unfamiliar territory holding a slim one-point lead early in the third quarter.
Unfortunately, costly interceptions and a failure to convert two late drives cost them in a 19-14 road loss in Winfield.
“I think our youth showed big time,” said Van-Far/Community R-VI head football coach Blake Logan.
Early in the game, Van-Far’s defense didn’t budge when Winfield moved the ball inside the Indians’ 10-yard line.
Winfield quarterback Damian Cagle completed a nine yard touchdown pass on fourth down before an ineligible receiver downfield penalty pushed the ball back five yards. An incomplete pass forced the Warriors to turn the ball over on downs, giving Van-Far the ball.
The Indians’ offense took advantage of the momentum. Assisted by Winfield’s 15-yard personal foul penalty to push the ball to midfield, Van-Far converted a fourth down on an 11-yard run by Logan Boyd. Quarterback Lucas Robinson followed with a 32-yard touchdown run.
A trick play with Sharrod Connor completing a two-point conversion pass to Robinson, pushed the lead to 8-0 near the end of the first quarter.
Van-Far’s defense forced another turnover on downs on Winfield’s following possession. The Indians’ offense pushed the ball to midfield again when Robinson’s pass was intercepted by David Bauer and returned 55 yards for a touchdown.
A successful extra-point kick kept Van-Far with an 8-7 lead.
Bauer nearly turned the ball over on a later punt when he briefly fumbled a kick from Boyd nd recovered it on the Warriors’ 25-yard line.
Winfield’s offense took the ball down to Van-Far’s 17-yard line in just a handful of plays. The drive stalled on fourth down when Cagle’s pass was knocked down at the goal line by Van-Far‘s Trey Hull.
In the final minutes of the first half, Winfield’s offense moved the ball to Van-Far’s 31-yard line when a tipped Cagle pass was picked off by Connor. Connor returned the ball 25 yards with 1:24 remaining.
Van-Far had 57 yards passing and 82 yards rushing for 139 total yards. Winfield had 85 yards passing and 79 yards rushing for a total of 164 yards of offense.
The Indians’ offense started the second half by needing to overcome two false start penalties and one whistle for a blocking infraction.
With the ball on the 37-yard line, Robinson converted a fourth down with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Hull.
Another false start and a flag after Nick Barnes caught a tipped pass for an apparent two-point conversion, was followed by an incomplete pass.
The Warriors’ offense finally broke through on the following possession. After Tim Novak’s 25-yard run moved the ball inside the Indians’ 20-yard line, Cagle ran the ball in from 18 yards out. An extra-point kick failed, keeping Van-Far in the lead, 14-13.
Winfield’s defense stood its ground in the next few minutes, forcing Van-Far to turnover the ball on downs in just six plays.
One drive Van-Far failed to convered a short one yard conversion on third and fourth downs.
“I expected us to run the ball for a half yard; we ran twice and didn’t get it,” Logan said.
Winfield continued its momentum with three carries for 64 yards and scoring a third touchdown. A two-point run failed as Winfield led 19-14 with 2:42 left in the third quarter.
Connor’s great catch on Van-Far’s next offensive play was overshadowed two plays later with a Robinson interception.
Boyd gave the Indians back the momentum when Cagle fumbled a snap and the Van-Far senior recovered it on the Warriors’ 40-yard line.
Robinson opened the fourth quarter with a 57 yard completion to Hull, moving the ball to Winfield’s three yard line. Unfortunately, Winfield’s defense didn’t break. Two costly penalties and failure to quickly go to the line on fourth down forced a quick snap before a possible delay of game penalty. The snap was fumbled and Robinson was tackled for a nine yard loss.
Van-Far appeared to be out of chances in the fourth quarter when head coach Blake Logan made a decision to punt with 5:27 left in the game from the Indians’ own 11-yard line.
Logan was hoping Winfield’s returner would continue his fumbling woes.
The gamble worked as Winfield’s returned fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Kyle Decker on Van-Far’s 45-yard line.
Jamie Household made an amazing, diving catch on the second play to push the ball to the 39-yard line of the Warriors.
Robinson was intercepted on the next play.
Van-Far’s offense finished the game with 218 yards passing and 93 yards rushing for 311 total yards of offense. Winfield had 105 yards passing and 270 yards rushing for 375 total yards.
Robinson completed 15-of-27 passes for 218 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He also had 13 carries for 71 yards and one touchdown.
Boyd had nine carries for 20 yards and one catch for five yards.
Conner Albrecht had two catches for 29 yards and Household hauled in two catches for 18 yards.
Hull added one carry for two yards along with two catches for 94 yards and one touchdown.
Connor tallied six catches for 64 yards. Barnes had one catch for four yards.
Logan said he was proud of the effort shown by both Sharrod Connor and Jamie Householder on a catch from each player. Video of Householder’s catch is on The Vandalia Leader’s Facebook page.
“Both of these kids have a great future,” he added.
Van-Far will compete in the Class 2, District 5 tournament with a first round game against Clark County at 7 p.m. on Halloween in Kahoka, Mo.
“Clark County is extremely physical and tough and athletic,” Logan said.