EDGERTON -- Edgerton and Tinora had a lot to play for as the two teams clashed at Stauffer Field on Friday night in Edgerton. The Bulldogs (8-2, 6-1 GMC) used a second-half rally to set themselves up a little bit better for the playoffs with a 28-17 victory.
In spite of some costly turnovers, the Rams (7-3, 5-2 GMC) had a chance trailing 22-17 with 28.2 seconds left in the third following a 70-yard pass from Brody Flegel to Hunter Flower to put the Bulldogs in front.
On the first play from scrimmage following the kickoff Kipp McCann ran up the middle but lost the football as Nathan Stark pounced on it for Edgerton at the 44-yard line. Three plays later, however, Kurt Kahle intercepted Flegel's pass to regrab the momentum for the Rams. But Tinora was unable to move the football and forced to punt.
With 10:47 left in the contest, Edgerton began a 13-play, 6:11 drive from its own 17-yard line capped by an 11-yard pass for a touchdown from Flegal to Stark to make it 28-17 Bulldogs. After that, the Rams were unable to move the ball and Edgerton ran out the clock at the end.
It really was a tale of two halves, however, as Tinora scored first on a 12-yard field goal by Austin Farrington to take a 3-0 lead toward the end of the first quarter. McCann scored the Rams' first touchdown on a 13-yard touchdown run for the 10-0 lead with 9:03 left until the intermission. But Edgerton answered on its next drive as Jimmy Radabaugh ran it in from 31-yards out on a fourth and one and ran in the two point try for a 10-8 score. The Rams scored once more before the half as McCann rumbled in from two yards out for a 17-8 lead.
Following a botched onside kick attempt to begin the third, Tinora was in good position to add more points before it came to a halt as Stark intercepted a pass from Derek Drewes at the 7-yard line. The Bulldogs marched down the field and scored on a 51-yard pass from Flegel to Stark to trim the lead to 17-15.
"I thought the interception to start the third turned the momentum a little bit," noted Tinora coach Kenny Krouse. "I thought after they messed up on the onside quick to begin the half and gave us good field position we had a shot at points. We can't do that, it would've been better to go out on downs in that situation but you can't just quickly turn it over."
Edgerton coach Ben Wilhelm was happy to see some little things tweaked at halftime to give his team a better shot at stopping the ground attack.
"Defensively, I can't say enough about our guys," he said. "Coach (Jason) Pelz put together some good adjustments at halftime to take away what they were doing in the first half. Tinora is a team that will not quit and we knew they weren't going to stop.
"They were getting us off tackle in the first half pretty good, but we made some adjustments where we wanted to put our defensive line."
Turnovers played a huge part in the game, something the Bulldogs had been on the short end of a week earlier.
"Anytime you can capitalize on those type of turnovers or mistakes it's huge, especially against a good team like Tinora," added Wilhelm. "We were on the receiving end of that last week at Hicksville and it's good to turn that tide and have them bounce in our favor."
McCann paced the Rams with 21 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
Flegal had 10 completions for 201 yards and three touchdowns and Stark caught five balls for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
For the Rams, the season ends on a low note after winning five games in a row and still in the hunt for a coveted playoff spot.
"Give them credit, they hit some big plays and they showed us who deserves to be in the playoffs next week," explained Krouse. "There was a lot of adversity this season for us and you can't make excuses for injuries or some of the things that happened. We'll grow from this. Derek (Drewes) didn't even get a full season under his belt and he's going to come back and get better."
Edgerton will now focus on the postseason, something that may be a little easier following the win on Friday that may allow the Bulldogs to host in week 11.
"We're going to watch film and start coaching," concluded Wilhelm. "We need to shore up some of the mistakes we made. In the first half we didn't block well, we didn't finish plays and those things can't happen if you want to make a run in the playoffs."
First Downs 9 10
Rushing Yards 29-141 36-137
Passing Yards 89 201
Total Yards 230 338
Passing 8-19-2 10-19-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties 5-35 4-30
Tinora 3 14 0 0 - 17
Edgerton 0 8 14 6 - 28
T - Farrington 12-field goal.
T - McCann 13-run (Farrington kick).
E - Radabaugh 31-run (Radabaugh run).
T - McCann 2-run (Farrington kick).
E - Stark 51-pass from Flegal (Radabaugh kick).
E - Flower 70-pass from Flegal (Radabaugh kick).
E - Stark 11-pass from Flegal (kick failed).
RUSHING: Tinora - McCann 21-96; Kahle 5-41; Rumbaugh 2-3; Drewes 1-1. Edgerton - Radabaugh 27-136; Richardson 4-11; Flower 4-(-2); Flegal 1-(-8). PASSING: Tinora - Drewes 8-18-2-89. Edgerton - Flegal 10-19-1-201. RECEIVING: Tinora - Rumbaugh 2-44; McKenney 3-21; Kahle 2-18; McCann 1-6. Edgerton - Stark 5-103; Flower 2-86; Adams 2-15; Radabaugh 1-(-3).