KANE — Despite a valiant fourth quarter comeback, the Brookville Raiders football team fell to the Kane Wolves, 35-34, in a District IX AA semifinal overtime heartbreaker Friday night in Kane.
Back-to-back touchdown runs from running back Zach Vroman in the fourth quarter helped the Raiders establish their first lead of the night. With the score at 28-21 and 1:59 left on the clock, the Wolves took over from their own 28-yard line.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Kane QB Sean Jordan got his pass off just in time to connect with Jonah Smith for a 23-yard gain. With a new set of downs, Jordan found wide receiver Sean Rolick open but was allowed only one yard by the Raider "D."
On second and nine, Jordan was sacked by Kiefer Gilhousen for a loss of seven yards.
Jordan quickly made up for the deficit with a completion to Smith, which he turned into a 22-yard gain but did not get out of bounds.
With less than a minute to go and a new set of downs, Jordan spiked the ball to stop the clock.
On second down, Jordan kept the ball and picked up seven yards and got out of bounds.
The Wolves were facing a third and three with 25 yards to go with 38 seconds left in the fourth stanza.
Jordan brushed off the pressure and completed a pass to Jeff Kocjancic for a gain of 13 yards, but he did not get out of bounds, so Jordan was forced to spike on first down.
On second and ten with 12 yards remaining for the score and 30 seconds left in regulation, Jordan passed the pigskin to Andrew Pierson in the middle of the field, and he found his way to the end zone. Jordan put the PAT through the uprights and tied the game at 28-28 with 26 ticks remaining.
After the kickoff and a Raider flag, Brookville took over from its own 20-yard line. On first and 15, Vroman darted for 39-yards and also managed to get out of bounds, stopping the clock with 10 seconds left in the game.
With a new set of downs, Zacherl took the handoff and picked up a couple of yards before fumbling, and the Wolves recovered with two seconds remaining.
On the final play of regulation, Jordan bombed the ball in Kocjancic's direction, but the pass was broken up and the game would be decided in overtime.
Kane won the coin toss and elected for first possession of the ball in overtime. The Wolves had four tries to cover 10 yards. Smith rushed for two yards on first down. On second down, Vroman broke up a pass intended for Kocjancic.
On third down, Jordan was able to connect with Kocjancic, who darted into the right side of the end zone for the score. Jordan booted in the PAT to put the Wolves up 35-28.
Brookville had to answer in four downs to keep Kane from winning the contest. It took only one play for QB Cameron Yard to connect with Jonah Sampson for the 10-yard score. With the score at 35-34, the Raiders elected to try the 2-point conversion.
"(We were) three yards away from the win and they didn't stop that play before all game, and the kids seemed excited about it. I know the good and bad about it (2-point conversions), but I also know the good and bad about extra points. It's just three yards away from a win and lately we'd been doing that and been successful," said Chris Dworek, Raider varsity coach.
"The kids believing, that was the main final decision. We talked about doing that before the coin was flipped, so at least they were thinking about it and they had it in their heads, so they were confident they could make it work," he added.
On Yard's final play of his Raider career, he tossed the ball in the direction of Vroman who laid out in an attempt at the reception but was unable to grasp the pigskin. The Wolves team and the crowd both erupted as they claimed a 35-34 win and advanced to the D-IX AA finals to face Karns City.
The first half of Friday night's contest told a much different story than its conclusion.
With just under five minutes remaining in the first quarter, Jordan found Rolick open down the right side of the field for a 15-yard TD. Jordan booted in the first PAT of the night to put the Wolves up 7-0. By night's end, Jordan completed 17-of-28 passes for 226 yards with three TDs and one interception.
A little over two minutes later, Kane took possession again after a botched Raider snap, which forced punter Nathan Bonfardine to run the ball, but he could only make it to the line of scrimmage.
Two plays later, the Wolves' Smith ran up the middle 28 yards for the score.
On the PAT attempt, Bonfardine broke through the line and blocked the kick, breaking the school record for most career blocked kicks with four during his final game in a Raider uniform.
Late in the second quarter, Brookville was able to get its offense going, which led to an 11-yard scoring run by Vroman. Yard connected on the PAT and cut Kane's lead to 13-7 with 3:25 left in the first half.
With 10 seconds left in the first half, Jordan passed the ball to Rolick, who broke tackles and found his way to the end zone.
However, the Wolves were charged with a chop blocking penalty which negated the score. On the final play of the first half, Jordan again hooked up with Rolick, who picked up 40 yards before being dragged down by the Raider defense to end the first half.
The score remained at 13-7 until the second play of the fourth quarter, when Kane's Smith ran the ball into the end zone from eight yards out. The Wolves faked the PAT, and holder Rolick tossed the ball to Jordan who ran into the end zone for the 2-point conversion, putting Kane on top 21-7 with 11:17 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Brookville offense buckled down the ensuing drive which ended on a 4-yard scoring run by Yard. He kicked the PAT in and cut the Kane lead to 21-14. By night's end, Yard rushed for 72 yards on 14 attempts to complement his 4-yard score. He also completed 4-of-9 passes for 68 yards with a 10-yard TD pass.
On the ensuing kick, Brodie Zacherl stripped the ball from Kane's Smith to give the possession right back to the Raiders at the Kane 18-yard line. In addition to his stellar defense, Zacherl trotted for 67 yards on 19 carries.
Five plays later, Vroman ran into the end zone from five yards out to tie the game at 21-21 with 6:51 remaining in the fourth quarter. In total, Vroman ran for 116 yards on 14 carries with three TDs.
On the second play of Kane's ensuing drive, Kocjancic coughed the ball up and Vroman recovered at the Wolve's 38-yard line.
Yard, Vroman and Zacherl alternated rushes until Vroman ran the ball in one yard for the score after an eight-play drive that ate up over four minutes.
Yard booted in the PAT to give the Raiders the 28-21 just before the Wolves started their comeback that led to Kane's 35-34 victory.
The Raiders ended their season with a 6-5 record.
After the game, coach Dworek spoke about the leadership the seniors instilled in the underclassmen on the team.
"They taught the underclass how to act and how to treat each other, most of the time with respect. (They taught) how to stay positive and keep encouraging, which was greatly different than in years past, especially last year. The kids took it on themselves to teach the young kids how to stay positive and to encourage, not discourage," said Dworek.