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Beavers Sports

Opportunity Lost at Oregon

Varsity - 2009 Season
Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2009 by Brady Ambrose
 

 

Opportunity lost at Oregon

 

Brady Ambrose/Times Press

 

  If you go by the statistics, Friday night's game between Reedsburg and Oregon looks like a solid victory for the Beavers.

 

But they don't play the games on paper.

 

Trailing 21-0 with less than a minute to play in the third quarter, Oregon quarterback Josh Graber scored three times with the help of a potent passing game to beat the Beavers 22-21 at Oregon. Grabers' 25 yard strike to Matt Marszalek with 45 seconds left in the game, followed by Graber's two-point conversion run shocked the Beavers, who had controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage for three fourths of the game. The loss dropped Reedsburg to 3-2 overall entering Friday night's showdown with Waunakee at Millennium Field. "Games like that are very tough to handle," said Reedsburg coach Brian Pottinger. "But it's important that we don't continue to dwell on it. We just need to learn from our mistakes and move on."  

 

Graber, who was  6-of-13 for 58 yards and an interception in the Panther's 22-0 loss to Monona Grove last week,  finished the game with a 16 for 25 effort passing for 165 yards, with 125 of them going to Marszalek and 6'5" receiver Alex McCauley, as the duo combined for 10 connections against the Reedsburg secondary.

 

After a scoreless first quarter, the Beavers took a 7-0 lead on a one yard run by Chad Mazur midway through he second quarter. The drive started at the Reedsburg 31 and ate up over five and a half minutes off the clock. The Beavers took a 14-0 lead on their next possession as Mazur scored on a seven yard keeper on third-and-goal with just 47 seconds left in the half.

 

Reedsburg took control of the game to start the second half as they took their opening possession of the half and marched 76 yards with Mazur scoring again, this time from four yards out to put the Beavers up 21-0 with 6:41 left in the third quarter.

 

But things then began to unravel for Reedsburg.

 

The Panthers got on the board on a one yard run by Marszalek with just 35 seconds left in the quarter to cut the lead to 21-7. The Oregon defense then forced the Beavers to punt on their next possession, and the Panthers took over at their own 23 yard line. Oregon drove to the Reedsburg 18, but Gable was then sacked by Lucas Gudenschwager for a four yard loss, bringing up a third and 10 at the Reedsburg 19. Gable raced 12 yards to the Reedsburg seven, and on fourth and three, hit McCauley in the endzone for Oregon's second score that closed the gap to 21-14 with 5:57 left in the game.

 

The Beavers then mounted a solid drive down the field. Mazur returned the Oregon kickoff to the 34. Reedsburg picked up a first down to the 45 yard line and Matt Lennon rumbled all the way to the Oregon 25 with 3:44 left in the game. Lennon, who had his best game of the year rushing with 112 yards on just 10 carries, picked up 14 more to the Panthers 11. On first down, Mazur got four yards to the seven, but Chad was then tackled for a three yard loss and Oregon called timeout. On third-and-nine from the 10 Lennon came up short with a five yard gain, and the Beavers sent the field goal squad onto the field with 2:14 to play. But Michael Hayes' attempt sailed wide and Oregon took over at their own 20. The Panthers then rushed down the field and moved to the Reedsburg 35 yard line with a 1:07 to play. On fourth-and-one Oregon picked up a first down the Reedsburg 28 and two plays later Graber hit Marszalek with a 25 yard screen pass for a touchdown that closed the lead to 21-20. Graber then took the snap on the two-point conversion attempt, rolled out to his right and crossed the goal line with the conversion that gave Oregon their first lead of the night at 22-21. Pottinger gave credit to Oregon, saying "Our defensive staff and players did everything they could, but it seemed like we were always a step behind in that second half. Give credit to Oregon because they made all the plays when they had to and we didn't."

 

But the Beavers still had a shot. Lennon returned the Oregon kick to the Reedsburg 39 and Matt picked up four yards on first down with 33 seconds left. On third down, Mazur was sacked back at the 40 yard line, but the Beavers got a huge break when Oregon was called for pass interference on fourth and four, giving Reedsburg a first down at the Oregon 45 with 16 seconds left. Lennon raced 12 yards on the next play to the 33, and Mazur hit Andy Huber with a 14 yard pass to the 19 with time running out. Mazur then spiked the ball to stop the clock on the next play, and again the field goal unit came out to try and kick a game-winning field goal from 37 yards away, but Hayes attempt fell short when his plant foot slipped, and the Panthers escaped with a wild 22-21 win. For the game the Beavers rolled up 323 yards of offense compared to Oregon's 230, and the Reedsburg defense held Oregon to just 70 rushing yards on 24 attempts. Reedsburg averaged 6.5 yards per carry in the game. Cassidy Denman had two receptions for 55 yards as the Beavers also passed for 78 yards on just four completions.

 

Up next now for Reedsburg will be their toughest challenge of the year as Waunakee visits Millennium Field Friday night for a Badger North showdown for first place in the conference. Parent's Night will also be celebrated. Pottinger said his team will approach Friday's game like any other, saying "This game is no different than any other game, so our approach will be the same — we'll come out and try to have a great week of preparation to be ready on Friday night." 

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