Wildcats hold on to high-scoring win in district game
By LaDonna Swedberg
Friday night’s game between Wallace and Hitchcock County was a very important district game for both teams and the young men on the field played as if it was a big game. Right down to the final buzzer, it was a battle to the end. The crowd got their money’s worth as the Wildcats held on to win the game 47–40.
The opening quarter was a good indication of things to come as the two teams went back and forth. Hitchcock County started the game with the ball but they were forced to punt their first possession.
Wallace on the other hand got a 54-yard run from John Marquardt and shortly after a 24-yard pass from Marquardt to Jose Arvizo that put them on the one-yard line. Marquardt put the first six points on the score board with a quarter back sneak.
The Falcons responded to the Wallace score by finding their way to the end zone on their next possession. The drive was completed when Alex Whipps completed a 15-yard pass to Daniel Arp.
Not to be outdone, the Wildcats came right back to score in the exact same way the Falcons did. Marquardt spotted a wide open Landon Swedberg for a 15-yard touchdown reception and with Shane Anders’ PAT, the Wildcats were back on top 13–6.
The lead, however, was short lived when Whipps completed another touchdown pass on the second play of the Falcons’ next drive. Austin Blume was the receiver who tied the score and a successful two-point conversion gave Hitchcock County their first lead of the game.
As the first quarter came to an end, Wallace was on the move and thinking about another score.
The second quarter started out great for the Wildcats when Marquardt went 39 yards on the opening play for another touchdown for his team.
Hitchcock County followed that up with a successful drive of their own. With only 40 seconds ticking off the clock and using mostly a passing game, Whipps once again connected with Blume to give the Falcons back their one-point lead.
The defenses took over the game for the next possession for each team. Blume, however, was able to get his offense going again when he found an open field for a 45-yard run and another Hitchcock County touchdown.
Wallace needed an answer so they put together another effective drive. After five rushing downs with positive yardage, Marquardt found Taylor Doell for a 25 yard touchdown reception. The score brought the Cats back within one point of the Falcons. The halftime score was 25–26.
The third quarter was huge for the Wildcats as they came out to dominate the Falcons. Both teams were forced to punt on their first possession but Doell returned the Hitchcock County punt 45 yards for Wallace’s first score of the half. A few plays later, the crowd experience a déjà vu; Blume broke free for another 45-yard touchdown run and the Falcons again had the one point edge.
Wallace controlled the remainder of the quarter. Their next possession resulted in a drive that started at their own 27-yard line. A good mix of run and pass moved the Cats down the field so that Marquardt only needed a 10-yard run for another touchdown. Hitchcock County fumbled the ball on their next drive so the Wildcats had a very short field but they were unable to capitalize on it. The Falcons were able to hold the Cats at the one-yard line to take over on downs.
The Wallace defense took the field looking to make a statement and get the ball right back. Four plays later, they did just that; the Falcons were forced to punt. A short punt once again gave the Cats great field position but this time they took advantage of it. They only needed three plays to find the end zone. Marquardt went back to Doell for a 13-yard touchdown reception. A successful two point conversion gave Wallace a 47–32 lead with one quarter left to play.
The Wildcat offense had stepped up to take the lead so it was up to the defense to stop Hitchcock County and hold on to that lead through the final quarter. The Falcons had possession of the ball most of the final quarter so the defense had their hands full.
Hitchcock County took to the air to get things done. They did find success with that when Blume connected with Arp for a 30-yard touchdown reception and the two-point conversion. The Falcons were only down by seven points and there was still 9:10 left in the game.
The Wildcats were not able to get a first down in the final quarter so it all came down to finding a way to stop the Falcons. The defense was up to the challenge. Nearly every play was a pass play and just when it looked like Wallace had stopped them, Hitchcock County would come up with just enough yardage to move the chains.
With just under 30 seconds on the clock, Hitchcock County had made their way down to the Wildcat 13-yard line. Every pass play stopped the clock so the tension seemed to mount with each snap of the ball. With only seconds on the clock the Falcons were facing a third and 10; needing a big play, Mark Jameson blew through the line and sacked the QB for the final play of the game.
The Wildcats only needed to celebrate as the remaining time ticked off the clock. The 47–40 victory was very sweet after last week’s disappointing loss to Brady.
Leading the way for the Wildcats on the offensive side of the ball was John Marquardt with 221 yards rushing on 33 carries and he was seven of 13 in pass completions for 117 yards. Jeff Harms and Landon Swedberg led the way defensively with eight solo tackles and four assisted, not far behind them was Mark Jameson with six unassisted and three assists along with two sacks.
The Wildcats will play their final regular season game this Friday when they travel to Curtis to take on the Medicine Valley Raiders. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30.