SPRING HILL — Ottawa High School football coach Marc Bergan’s voice was hoarse. He was put through an emotional roller-coaster as the Cyclones rallied from a 25-8 deficit with three touchdowns in the final 7:40 to pull out a 30-25 victory.
“It is amazing,” Bergan said. “We finally made some plays.”
The offense went to its passing game, while the defense forced a couple of fumbles. Taylor Graf tossed touchdown passes of 63 and 60 yards to Andre Lewis to pull Ottawa within 25-24 with 4:34 left in the game.
The Ottawa defense forced and recovered a fumble at the Bronco 31. Ottawa had fourth down and 7 at the Bronco 17 when Graf rifled a 17-yard touchdown pass to Zach Dilliard for the winning score.
“Two great balls thrown and caught,” Bergan said. “He threw a strike to Dilliard for the touchdown. It was nice to come back after being down and win. We made plays on defense. We had to get extra possessions because we were behind. Only way to do that is to get turnovers.”
Cory Peoples recovered a fumble at the Ottawa 31 to set up the second touchdown pass. Chandler Wimmer fell on a loose ball at the 31 to set up the winning score.
The coach hopes this kind of victory will give the players confidence in their abilities.
“It is huge,” he said. “It is fabulous. It gives us confidence going into district.”
Ottawa came out and scored on its first drive of the game, a first this season. Ottawa drove 80 yards in eight plays. Graf scrambled in for the score from the 10.
Bergan said it was good to take the lead and drive the length of the field.
The Ottawa offense then was shut down until the third quarter when the opening drive stalled at the Spring Hill 42.
“We did not finish drives,” Bergan said. “We had a running game.”
The Ottawa defense gave up some big plays as the Broncos scored 25 straight points. Bergan said the Broncos’ fullhouse backfield made it tough on Ottawa. Bergan said Ottawa had to clamp down on the running game which gave some holes in the passing attack.
“They had some long plays in the first half,” he said. “You are so concerned about the run.
“Our kids really battled. We did some good things on special teams.”
Spring Hill’s last effort was thwarted by a quarterback sack as the time ran out.
It was time to celebrate.
Ottawa (2-4) plays Friday at Baldwin.
Greg Mast can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org