KARNS CITY — With 23 seconds left on the clock, the Brookville Raiders attempted their first field goal of the season. Cam Yard stepped up to the line, and his kick was just a few inches low, allowing Karns City to block it.
The missed field goal sent the Raiders home packing with a 24-21 loss Friday night in Karns City.
In hindsight, Brookville head coach Chris Dworek said he thought he made the right call on fourth down with the game on the line.
"They almost talked me into trying for the fake, and I'm glad they didn't, because (Karns City) had it covered," Dworek said. "It was just one of those things that didn't work out."
The Raiders had several unsung heroes on the night, namely quarteback Steven Kennedy, who was the leading rusher on the ground with 150 yards. Kennedy also threw 11 completions for 144 yards.
"(It was) one of the better games he's had," Dworek said. "He's an experienced veteran, and he checked more plays at the line of scrimmage than he ever did before. ... He knows what to look for. The offense really knows to be alert, so he needs to excute, and he did a great job."
The Karns City Gremlins made their first offensive error during the initial drive when quarterback Brady Ellenberger threw the ball into the end zone, and it was intercepted by Kennedy.
But the Gremlins quickly made up for the error on their next offensive possession. Ellenberger was the first to score for Karns City, running in a 30-yard touchdown, and Karns City held onto the seven point lead until the second quarter.
The Raiders first touchdown came in the middle of the second stanza. Brookville had an 82-yard drive, which was highlighted by a 44-yard run from Kennedy. In the red zone, Kennedy pitched the ball back to Brodie Zacherl, who scored a three-yarder to tie the game.
But on the very next play, the Gremlins took back their seven-point lead when Glenn Toy broke free of several attempted tackles and scored on a 60-yarder.
The shootout continued on the Raiders' ensuing drive. Brookville was once again in its own territory, and a long keep by Kennedy brought the Raiders into the red zone. Kennedy scored his first touchdown of the game when he threw a 16-yard completion to Zach Vroman to knot the score at 14.
The score was tied heading into halftime, and the Gremlins came out and scored the first points of the second half when Adam Garing hit a successful 30-yard field goal. Karns City led 17-14.
Brookville took its only lead of the game when it completed a touchdown after a seven-play, 65-yard drive, which was highlighted by three pass completions from Kennedy. He then found Derek Shattenberg in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown.
The Raiders held onto their lead into the fourth quarter, but Karns City regained it at 24-21 when quarterback Tyler Kepple threw a pass to Toy, who ran the distance and scored a 77-yarder.
Brookville once again worked its way into the red zone on a long drive, but Kennedy was hit hard and fumbled. It was recovered by Karns City.
Brookville's defense held strong and forced the Gremlins to punt, giving the Raiders' offense one last chance at the ball with 2:30 left on the clock.
The Raiders worked their way down field and eventually found themselves in the red zone, but they could not manage a score. On fourth-and-eight, the Raiders elected to give Yard's leg a chance to tie the ball game, but it was just not enough. The Gremlins had won.
Despite coming up just short of the win, Dworek said he was also happy with how the Raiders played as a team during Friday night's game.
"We had a real good talk about being a team and doing things together, winning and losing together," Dworek said. "The team chemistry is still building and coming together."
Dworek said although the Raiders have slipped below .500, he is satisfied with how the season is going and is continuing to see improvement. In fact, he hopes that having this close of a game with a tough team in Karns City, the team's confidence will keep building.
"We try to be perfect, and knowing that we weren't perfect, that's going to bug us and hopefully motivate us instead of keeping our heads down," Dworek said.
With the victory, the Gremlins increased their season record to 4-3, while the Raiders dropped to 3-4.