The Hilanders’ Tanner Crafts takes the opening kickoff back 82 yards for a score (photo by RANDY PARKS)
Late score gives Pros the win
By Randy Parks
Kody Nelson broke free for a 35-yard touchdown run with 4:47 left to play and Lane Williams connected with Rayce Houser on the two-point conversion to give Grant Union a 28-27 comeback win over Burns in the season opener for both teams on Friday, Aug. 31.
The Hilanders had one more chance to pull out the win, but they turned the ball over on downs on their final possession, and the Prospectors ran out the clock to pick up the win.
The game couldn’t have started out any better for Burns as Tanner Crafts fielded the opening kickoff and returned it 82 yards for the score.
Burns made it 14-0 in the second quarter as Austin Feist scored on a 23-yard run with 5:42 left in the half.
The Burns defense then forced Grant Union out on downs, and it looked like the Hilanders would take the two-touchdown lead into the locker room at halftime.
The momentum took a big swing the other way on the very next play as Soren Larson picked up a Hilander fumble and sprinted 36 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
Following an onside kick attempt, the Hilanders had good field position at the Grant Union 49, but Seth Nonnenmacher’s first-down pass was intercepted by Tucker Wright, giving the Prospectors possession at the Burns 49.
The Prospectors moved the ball down to the 22, but Nonnenmacher picked off Lane Williams’ pass and the Hilanders led 14-6 as the second quarter came to a close.
Grant Union started the third quarter with a 67-yard scoring drive, capped off by a 2-yard TD run by Williams. Williams also ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14-14.
The Hilanders regained the lead early in the fourth quarter as a bad punt snap gave them great field position, and Feist scored his second touchdown of the night from 23 yards out.
The Prospectors started their next drive at their own 31 and on fourth down, Williams connected with Houser on a 62-yard scoring play. The two-point conversion failed, giving Burns a 21-20 lead with 8:14 to play.
Feist returned the ensuing kickoff back to the Grant Union 48 and four plays later, Matson Gahley powered in from five yards out putting the Hilanders up 27-20. The extra-point kick was no good however, setting up Grant Union’s final game-winning drive.
On first down from their own 36, the Prospectors’ Blake Tirico picked up four yards, followed by a 17-yard pass completion from Williams to Dalton Reimers. Tirico then rushed for eight yards, followed by Nelson’s 35-yard score to bring Grant Union to within one. Williams then found Houser open for the two-point conversion and the victory.
The Hilanders rushed for 141 yards, led by Feist with 81 yards on eight carries.
Nonnenmacher completed six of 15 passes for 37 yards and three interceptions.
Grant Union picked up 207 yards on the ground, led by Tirico with 56 yards on 15 carries.
Williams was 3-for-13 for 88 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Burns travels to Sisters on Friday, Sept. 7, for a non-conference match-up with the Outlaws. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
1 2 3 4 Final
G.U. 0 6 8 14 28
Bur 7 7 0 13 27
Burns — Tanner Crafts 82 kickoff return (Feist kick)
Burns — Austin Feist 23 run (Feist kick)
G.U. — Soren Larson 36 fumble return (kick failed)
G.U. — Lane Williams 2 run (Williams run)
Burns — Feist 23 run (Feist kick)
G.U. — Rayce Houser 62 pass from Williams (run failed)
Burns — Matson Gahley 5 run (kick failed)
G.U. — Kody Nelson 35 run (Houser pass from Williams)
RUSHING—Grant Union, Williams 12-50, Nelson 5-44, Tirico 15-56, Goin 11-41, Gardner 1-0, Ackerman 3 (-27), DesJardin 2-11. Burns, White 3-5, Nonnenmacher 10-38, Gahley 5-17, Feist 8-81.
PASSING—Grant Union, Williams 3-13-1 88. Burns, Nonnenmacher 6-15-3 37.
RECEIVING—Grant Union, Tirico 1-9, Houser 1-62, Reimers 1-12. Burns, Feist 4-26, Crafts 2-11.