Kimball/White Lake scores late to beat Seahawks 26-22ETHAN — With blood running down his face and grass stains smeared on his jersey, Kimball/White Lake senior Trevor Reinesch was the happiest player on the field.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
ETHAN — With blood running down his face and grass stains smeared on his jersey, Kimball/White Lake senior Trevor Reinesch was the happiest player on the field.
His game-sealing interception with 49 seconds left in the fourth quarter lifted the No. 3-ranked WiLdKats to a 26-22 victory over top-ranked Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan in a high-stakes high school football game Friday. It was a giant 9AA Region 3 victory for Kimball/White Lake on a cool, breezy fall day that was back and forth and had playoff atmosphere.
“That pressure, you could just feel that pressure,” Reinesch said.
To take the final four-point lead, Jake Kirsch scored a 3-yard touchdown run with 4:56 to play, capping a 10-play, 61-yard drive.
Following the go-ahead score, the Seahawks put together an 11-play drive and drove to their opponent’s 24-yard line, but Reinesch’s leaping interception in front of Anthony Huber gave the WiLdKats their seventh win of the year.
“This game was overwhelming,” said Kimball/White Lake coach Dale Taylor, whose team lost to the Seahawks in last year’s 9AA state championship game. “ … I’m really impressed with our kids being able to stop a powerful football team.”
Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan trailed 14-6 at halftime after giving up two second-quarter touchdowns. Huber opened the scoring with a 3-yard, first-quarter touchdown, but Kimball/White Lake quarterback Jesse Taylor and Reinesch each had a rushing touchdown to give the WiLdKats the momentum after the first 24 minutes.
Following halftime, Kyelle Herrick tied the game at 14 with a 4-yard touchdown. Seahawks coach Jeff VanLeur said his team made some blocking adjustments at the break and added his team did a nice job of executing.
“We banged heads right up front,” VanLeur said. “Both teams did a nice job running the ball hard. The running game, both teams knew it was coming.”
Kirsch, who finished with 21 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns, helped Kimball/White Lake respond with a touchdown on its next possession for a 20-14 lead. But the Seahawks scored with 2:04 left in the third quarter when quarterback Jace Connor rolled to his left and fired to Clayton Dye, who made a nice one-handed catch for a 16-yard TD to tie the game at 20. Huber, a workhorse who had 36 carries for 133 yards, put in a second effort on the ensuing 2-point conversion, giving the Seahawks a 22-20 lead.
“As a coach, that’s all you can ask of your kids, just keep fighting for you,” VanLeur said.
After Kimball/White Lake punted, Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan put together an impressive drive that stalled on fourth-and-goal from the WiLdKats’ 4-yard line.
Kimball/White Lake senior Hunter Dykes busted through the line and sacked Connor on fourth down, setting up the eventual game-winning drive on Kirsch’s final touchdown.
“They had momentum going, and they were on the 4-yard line on fourth down,” Taylor said. “It was a great play for us, a big stop for us defensively.”
Before the game, Kimball/White Lake was first in the region in power-point standings, while the Seahawks were second. The victory kept WiLdKats in first place in the region standings and will likely give them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Besides Kirsch, Reinesch had 12 carries for 76 yards and Jesse Taylor completed 4 of 7 passes for 52 yards. Kyle Peters had two catches for 27 yards and Eathen Gaulke had two catches for 25 yards. The WiLdKats finished with 47 rushes for 209 yards.
The Seahawks, now 4-2, will drop in the region standings and need to win their final two games to stamp a guaranteed playoff spot. As a team, they finished with 231 rushing yards, while Connor was 4-of-10 passing for 65 yards and had 19 carries for 73 yards.
“I’m glad we got this win,” Taylor said, “but I don’t know … We might have woken up a monster. Who knows?”
Kimball/White Lake 26,
BEE: Anthony Huber 2 run (Pass failed)
KWL: Jesse Taylor 1 run (Jake Kirsch run)
KWL: Reinesch 14 run (Pass failed)
BEE: Kyelle Herrick 4 run (Huber run)
KWL: Kirsch 1 run (Run failed)
BEE: Clayton Dye 16 pass from Jace Connor (Huber run)
KWL: Kirsch 3 run (Run failed)