FALL CREEK — Already leading by nine points in the first half of its non-conference football battle in Fall Creek last Friday night, Glenwood City was on the verge of extending that lead to double digits when disaster struck.
The Hilltoppers’ Dan Loring literally lost the football as he was headed across the goal line.
An alert Fall Creek defensive player scooped up the loose pig skin and returned it deep into the Glenwood City territory when the Crickets eventually scored to pull to within two points – 15-13 – at the intermission.
While Glenwood City continued to mishandle the ball and went scoreless in the second half, Fall Creek added 16 points on a pair of rushing touchdowns and two-point conversion in the third quarter and rallied for a 29-15 win in the September 28 contest.
The loss was the Hilltoppers’ third straight and dropped their overall mark to 3-4 on the season with just two games – both conference tilts – remaining.
Glenwood City will likely need to win both beginning with this Friday’s homecoming game against Colfax if it wants to secure a WIAA playoff berth. The Hilltoppers finish the regular season at Elk Mound on October 12.
The absences of running backs/linebackers Caleb Petersen (ankle) and Dakota Dean-Immerman (ham string) due to injuries did not help the Hilltoppers either.
But senior quarterback Hadin DeSmith and Brandyn Hallquist tried to make up for the personal losses by putting on an aerial show.
DeSmith tossed the hide for 228 yards on a 17-for-30 performance with a touchdown and an interception while Hallquist caught five of those throws for 129 yards including one for a 50-yard score and added another 26 and a score on the ground.
Glenwood City struck pay dirt first as DeSmith ran in a touchdown from two yards away at 6:04 of the opening quarter. Dan Loring ran in the two-point conversion for an early 8-0 Toppers’ lead.
Fall Creek’s Hayden Goodman, with his only run of the contest, scored on a 1-yard run to put the Crickets on the board with just a second left on the first-quarter clock. The extra point kick missed leaving GC in front by a pair of points.
Then with 6:57 left in the first half, DeSmith found Hallquist open for a 50-yard touchdown pass. Tucker Lagerstrom kicked the PAT and GC stretched its advantage to 15-6.
The Toppers’ looked as it they were going to add another score before the intermission when the goal line fumble occurred.
Instead, Joey Kinderman scored the first of his three touchdowns with 4:44 left in the second. Brady Nicks’ kick made it just a two-point game at intermission.
Kinderman, who finished with 117 yards on 17 rushes and three TDs, and the Crickets took their first lead in the third and never relinquished it. Kinderman scored on runs of five and 20 yards and the Crickets tacked on a pair of conversion runs to pull away for the 29-15 win following a scoreless final quarter.