Ramblers Fall To The Knights On Homecoming
While their Homecoming game was not quite what they wanted, it was a step in the right direction for the Cotter High School Football team.
The Ramblers got out to an early lead, but eventually fell to Kingsland 33-30.
Austin Hicks put the Ramblers on the board early in the game, thanks to a 45-yard touchdown run, with 9:45 to go in the opening quarter. Hicks would be the main threat in the game for the Ramblers.
Cotter would recover the ensuing kickoff – a modified onside kick, that Tyler Nachtigal would fall on, and set up the Ramblers with excellent field position.
After a sustained drive, the Ramblers added to their lead with Hicks’ second touchdown of the game, run in from 5 yards out. Jake Mueller would get the 2-point conversion, and Cotter would lead 14-0.
After a defensive stop, the Ramblers kept piling on the offense. Hicks scored his third TD of the game, rushing 64 yards to the endzone, to put Cotter up 22-0.
Kingsland, down but not out, would show some life on their next possession, when Dallas Jones scored a 7-yard TD with 3:57 remaining in the first quarter.
Cotter tried to get all the padding they could in the score, when Laken Macal hauled in a 6-yard TD pass from Tate Gilbertson. Mueller again converted for 2, and the Ramblers were up 30-6.
However, this is when Kingsland took over. First, it was a 52-yard run from Jones, and a 2-point conversion from Reid Kruegel. Then, Kingsland would get a 1-yard QB sneak from Nick Ramaker before the half, to cut the Rambler lead to 30-20.
Hicks would make a big play on defense with 8:30 to go in the third quarter, intercepting a tipped William Jahn pass, but the Ramblers could not convert that turnover into points.
Jones would find the endzone again later in the third quarter, to cut the gap to 30-26, with 2:56 to go.
That’s when things got weird, and tragic for the Ramblers.
First, was a Hicks fumble at midfield, which gave the Knights the ball, and continued their momentum. Kingsland would turn that into a score with 11:22 to go in the 4th quarter, as Reed Merkel would catch an 8-yard Jahn pass to give Kingsland their first, only and last lead at 33-30.
Cotter would have several chances to get back on the scoreboard after that, but it just wasn’t meant to be. With 3:27 left in the 4th quarter, the Ramblers were driving, and faced a key 4th down inside the Kingsland 25 yard line. However, their main offensive threat, Hicks, was unavailable for the play, as he lost his helmet on the play before, causing him to have to miss the next play. The Ramblers didn’t convert, and Kingsland took over on downs.
Kingsland went 3-and-out on the possession, and Kingsland was forced to punt, with 2:44 to go in the final quarter. Cotter looked to get the ball back with good field position, but the improbable happened. Ramaker, the Knights QB and punter was set to punt. The snap bounced on the turf, and Ramaker rolled out, and passed to Dakota Hammond complete across the 40-yard line for the first down.
Cotter was forced to use their remaining timeouts during the next drive, which they stopped, and forced Kingsland to punt again. With 1:01 left, another bad snap made Ramaker roll out again. He threw downfield, which Hicks intercepted at the Cotter 35 yard line, but there was a flag on the play. Cotter declined the penalty, and Kingsland would have to punt again from their own 19 yard line.
The third time was not the charm as Ramaker’s punt bounced at the 50-yard line, hit the Cotter returner, Hicks, and was recovered by Kingsland’s Matthew Schwanke.
The Knights (1-5) would then run out the clock, to get their first win of the season, and snap their 6-game losing streak.
The Ramblers (0-6) will have to try to put their heartbreak aside as they travel to Southland (3-3) looking for their first win of the season, and looking to snap their 8-game losing streak.
Football Night on HBC will be at Elgin as the PEM Bulldogs (2-4) celebrate Homecoming against Byron (3-3). Kickoff is at 7pm, and is the final Regular Season Friday night game on HBC TV 25, HD 525!