The Switzerland County Pacer varsity football team pushed its record above .500 and remained undefeated in conference play with a 24-12 Homecoming victory over Oldenburg Academy.
Oldenburg received the opening kickoff, and the opening drive was highlighted by a pass from Twister quarterback Eli Spoerleder to Dominic McFee; but the Pacer defense held strong, and when Dez Lange sacked Spoerleder for a big loss, Oldenburg was forced to punt.
Thanks for a solid punt return by Switzerland County’s Cade Rider, the Pacers opened their first drive of the game near midfield, and Coach Ryan Jesop got strong running from Dominic Klem, Hunter Records, Dathan Brown, Lange and quarterback Damion Courter. Klem busted a big run down to the 25 yard line to put the Switzerland County offense in scoring position, but the Pacer suffered a bit of bad luck moments later, when Courter’s pass bounced off of Rider and was intercepted by McFee. The Twister defender carried the ball back to near midfield before being tackled, setting up the Oldenburg offense.
Spoerleder threw a pass to the sideline that was caught by Race Carle, and after the receiver shook off a few Pacer defenders, he raced to the end zone to give Oldenburg an early 6-0 lead. The Switzerland County defense held again, denying the two-point conversion attempt, and with 5:18 to go in the opening quarter, the Twisters were in front.
Neither team could get any sustained offense going from there, so the first quarter ended with the same 6-0 score.
In the second quarter, Oldenburg was driving, getting a long run by Spoerleder down to the 15-yard line, but Switzerland County knocked the ball away and then recovered the resulting fumble, denying another Twister score and swinging momentum back Switzerland County’s way.
Again Switzerland County pounded the ball with strong running by Klem and Records, and after the drive stalled, senior Zach Howlett got off a strong punt that pinned Oldenburg in their own territory. McFee’s first down run pushed the ball down to the 30-yard line, again putting Oldenburg in business, and moments later Twister Caleb Lehman broke away on a 30-yard run that ended in the end zone. Again the two-point conversion was denied, and with 9:34 to go in the half, Oldenburg held a 12-0 lead.
It was then time for Switzerland County to dent the scoreboard.
Again Klem did damage on the ground; and Courter connected on a long pass to Bryce Turner that carried the Pacers down deep into Oldenburg territory, setting up a scoring opportunity.
Faced with a 4th and 7, Coach Jesop decided to lean on his offense, and Courter again connected with Turner on a long pass, pushing the ball all the way down to the five yard line before being drug down.
Records carried down to the one; and on third down, Courter kept it himself and powered into the end zone to put the Pacers on the board with 5:06 left in the half. Sam White converted the PAT, making the score 12-7 in favor of the Twisters.
Again the defenses held, and that’s how the half ended.
Following halftime Homecoming festivities, Switzerland County decided to keep the celebration going, running off all of the second half points to secure the win.
The Pacers took the lead for good on a nine-yard pass from Courter to Rider with 9:02 left in the third quarter on a drive that was highlighted by a huge catch and run from Courter to Brown that took the ball to the nine. This time the point-after attempt was no good, but the score still put the Pacers in front by a 13-12 score.
Switzerland County’s defense was strong all night, getting exceptional line play from Harrison Griffis, Howlett, Zach Weaver, Eddie McCarty and Dakota Wallace among others — and that defense would again be tested after the Switzerland County touchdown.
Oldenburg took the kickoff and immediately made noise, with the Twisters getting two big runs by McFee to enter Pacer territory. Oldenburg pushed the ball down as far as the 20-yard line, but the Switzerland County defense and an ill-timed penalty denied the Twisters anymore yardage, giving the ball over to the Pacers on downs.
The two teams traded drives after that, and an Oldenburg drive near the end of the period was snuffed when Howlett came free and got a big sack on Spoerleder that caused a huge loss and derailed any hopes of a Twister drive.
The third quarter came to an end with Switzerland County leading, 13-12.
The final quarter saw the Pacers go to their power run game, rotating running backs and feasting on a crew of tired Oldenburg defenders. Klem and Records pounded the ball into the middle of the line, breaking away for big runs.
With 7:03 left in the game, it was Records’ time to find the end zone on a big run, and when White converted the extra point, the score stood at 20-12.
The Pacers would score twice more in the contest — both times in the same, unconventional way.
With Oldenburg trying to get back in the game, a shotgun snap to quarterback Spoerleder sailed way over his head. Spoerleder ran back into the end zone and tried to pick up the ball, but he was tackled by Howlett for a safety, making the score 22-12 and giving Switzerland County possession with 3:17 to go.
After Switzerland County’s drive stalled, Oldenburg again had possession, and again the shotgun snap sailed over the 6’3” Spoerleder’s head. That play resulted in another safety, and the score with 51-seconds left was 24-12 — and the Pacers ran out the clock from there to secure their third victory of the season.