Homecoming is a special time for any school district. Unfortunately for the Van-Far Indians’ football team, the past decade has been filled with weeks full of activities ending with a Homecoming loss.
That stretch came to an end last week when Van-Far scored 28 straight points to complete their rally for the 28-14 victory over Wright City.
Van-Far head coach Blake Logan said the play of his team’s defense was the key to victory.
“I told them before the game that we would win or lose based on our defense and the defense stepped up,” he said. “When we were down, they showed a lot of courage and mental toughness and resolve to come back and take back the game we let slip away there in the first quarter…It’s the first Homecoming win in over a decade. It’s a big win for our guys and they can see if we play well and execute, we can beat anybody.”
It appeared early that Wright City came ready for an easy victory as they recovered an onside kick to start the game on the Indians’ 49 yard line.
Four plays later, the Wildcats scored on a three yard touchdown run and took a 7-0 lead after an extra-point kick.
Van-Far’s first offensive drive didn’t end as well as Wright City’s. The Indians marched down to the Wildcats’ 16 yard line before their drive stalled after an incomplete pass.
Wright City started a drive at the end of the first quarter on the Indians’ 48-yard line and the Wildcats once again took advantage of the good field position.
Nine plays later, Wright City scored on 4th and five before their extra-point kick put the lead at 14-0.
Van-Far coaches huddled with their players after the second score and the Indians responded with a drive that took six minutes off the clock.
Van-Far started on their own 42-yard line and ran the ball on 12 straight running plays.
Ethan Gooch had 49 yards, including a fourth down conversion and a three yard touchdown run. Lucas Robinson completed a pass to Gooch for the two-point conversion.
A booming 58-yard punt pinned the Indians later deep in their own territory as Wright City entered halftime with a 14-8 lead.
A strange turn of events took place at the beginning of the third quarter as Wright City recovered an onside kick. On the very next play, Van-Far’s Woodrow Jackson recovered a fumble for the second turnover in just :12 seconds.
With the ball on their own 40-yard line, Logan dialed up some trickery when Gooch rolled right and threw a deep ball to Logan Boyd for a 60-yard touchdown pass. The failed two-point conversion kept the score at 14-14.
Nearly three minutes later, another Van-Far drive didn’t go well when Robinson’s pass was intercepted on the Indians’ 44-yard line.
Wright City took the ball to Van-Far’s five yard line in six plays before Gooch and Boyd combined on a tackle for a three yard loss on fourth down.
Van-Far’s next scoring drive started on their own 17-yard line at the end of the third quarter.
Gooch had a 20 yard run that was followed three plays later with Robinson’s 56-yard touchdown strike to Boyd with 20.6 seconds left.
The failed two-point pass kept the score at 20-14.
At the 7:38 mark in the fourth quarter, Robinson’s pass was intercepted to give Wright City back the ball near midfield.
Van-Far’s defense responded yet again three plays later when Devontay Wilkerson recovered a fumble on the Wildcats’ 45-yard line.
Boyd put the game away with 42 yards rushing on the following drive as he scored on a seven yard touchdown run. Robinson then completed a two-point conversion pass to Boyd to move the score to 28-14 with 4:09 left.
“The defense made big plays early in the third and we capitalized on some turnovers,” Logan said.
Boyd finished the game with 17 carries for 120 yards and one touchdown. He also hauled in three catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
“Logan had the best game of his career,” Blake Logan said.
Gooch had 16 carries for 117 yards and one touchdown, completed 1-of-2 passes for 60 yards and one touchdown, and caught one pass for 15 yards.
The Indians finished the game with 136 yards passing and 241 yards rushing for 377 total yards of offense.
Wright City had 174 yards rushing and 207 total yards of offense.
Up next for Van-Far is a match-up with Clopton/Elsberry, a team with a five wide set that likes to pass. They beat Principia last week for their first win, a team that beat Van-Far the week before.