by Hank Krause
Akron-Westfield, trailing 35-14 with 10 minutes to play, did the impossible. On the arm of Cory Eskra and the hands of Chance Hoffman, A-W scored four touchdowns in the waning moments to hand the Hinton Blackhawks a 41-35 defeat and keep the Westerners undefeated.
Two weeks in a row is more than a person can stand. I missed part of the fourth quarter because I had to pick up two “old women” coming in from a bus tour. Next time they’ll have to hitchhike, believe me!!
Who said last week’s game couldn’t be topped? Well it was!
Hinton’s defense proved to be extremely tough as they keyed on Taylor James, holding James to 62 yards in 18 carries.
Eskra threw the ball 39 times, completing 25 and Hoffman was on the receiving end as he grabbed 14 aerials for an astounding 249 yards.
Hinton opened the scoring on an 81 yard, 10 play drive as quarterback Morgan Wenzel dashed in from the six to grab a 7-0 lead.
A-W, hampered by penalties in the first quarter, was forced to punt the ball away. Hinton started on their own 45. Hinton used seven plays as Wenzel found Jason Vander Kooi open for a 24 yard strike to put Hinton up, 14-0.
Hinton really outplayed A-W in the first quarter plus they went up 21-0 early in the second quarter as Wenzel scored on a 43 yard run which appeared to be a broken play.
The never quit Westerners got their act together. Eskra returned the kick off back to the Hinton 45. A-W used six plays to cover the 55 yards as James scored from the five. This drive had two big plays – Eskra completing a 13 yard pass to Hoffman and Eskra running 16 yards to put the ball on the Hinton 10.
Forced to punt, Hinton bobbled the snap and A-W recovered the fumble at Hinton’s 19. A-W made it 21-14 as James scored on another five yard run. Eskra hit Kevin Carlson for the two point conversion.
Eight seconds into the second half, Hinton’s Wenzel scored on a 57 yard run. Now things were looking bad. A-W was down 28-14. However, things got worse as Hinton scored early in the fourth quarter when Wenzel completed a 24 yard pass to Jake Hasselquist to make it 35-14.
Now the fun began with A-W trailing by 21 with 10 minutes left to play. From here on it appeared to be the Eskra-Hoffman show.
A-W started on its own 17 and used three plays: a 49 yard pass to Hoffman; James run, no gain; Eskra 34 yard touchdown run, to make the score 35-21. It looked better at this point.
With less than four minutes left in the game, A-W scored three touchdowns to win.
Daniel Beitelspacher stole the ball from Wenzel to put A-W back in business. With 3:15 left, Hoffman caught a 20 yard pass from Eskra to tie the score at 35.
Hinton with a three and punt put the ball on A-W’s 32. A-W covered the 68 yards in eight plays. Eskra hit on five pass plays either to James or Hoffman. The final pass was a 27 yarder to Hoffman, who scored.
Hinton had one more go at it but two quarterback sacks by Beitelspacher did the Blackhawks in, winning 41-35.
Overall the defense was led by Beitelspacher, Sam Mace, Chance Gant, Chet Willer, and Eskra. In the second half, A-W really stepped up on its defense.
What an unbelievable game and an unbelievable comeback – A-W scoring 27 points in the last 10 minutes of the game.
A-W Coach Eric Walkingstick is so proud of the kids, the parents, and the fans. He commented the fans really helped the players along.
1 2 3 4 T
AW 0 14 0 27 41
H 14 7 7 7 35
Scoring by quarters
H – Wenzel 9 yd run, PAT good
H – Wenzel 24 yd pass to Vander Kooi, PAT good
H – Wenzel 44 yd run, PAT good
AW – James 5 yd run PAT no good
AW – James 5 yd. run, 2 point pass good
H – Wenzel 57 yd. run PAT good
H – Wenzel 24 yd. pass to Hasselquist, PAT good
AW – Eskra 34 yd. run, PAT good
AW – Eskra 34 yd. pass to Hoffman, PAT good
AW – Eskra 20 yd. pass to Hoffman, PAT good
AW – Eskra 27 yd. pass to Hoffman, PAT no good
First Downs 21 20
Rushes 36 41
Rushing yds 152 178
Passing 25-41-2 13-30-1
Passing yds 315 166
Total offense 467 344
Fumbles 0/0 3/0
Penalties 10-82 8-63
Punts 5-35.4 4-39.3