Raiders win wild one in OT, 29-21
A season's worth of drama was packed into one football game on Friday night. The good news for Hastings fans was that at the end of the wild game, Hastings emerged with the season's first win, 29-21, over Roseville.
The game included Hastings coming from behind from a 14-point deficit. There were interceptions. Fumbles. A nailbiter of a fourth quarter that saw Hastings pull within seven points with five minutes to play, then saw them tie it with just more than two minutes to play. To tie it, Hastings needed to convert on a two-point conversion, made all the more interesting as three penalties were called on consecutive attempts. There was a late interception to prevent Roseville from marching down the field for the win.
Then, in overtime, Hastings scored the game-winning touchdown on, of all things, a fake field goal.
"It was a crazy game," coach Dana Strain said. "There were some strange sequences, like the three penalties on the two-point conversion and all that business. You can't help but let your mind drift a little bit to think about what it would be like to lose one like that. We're fortunate we came out on the good end of this one. It makes it pretty memorable. I'm sure the kids, when they're sitting around when they're 30 years old, they'll remember this one. When you win on a comeback and on a fake field goal, that's a pretty cool deal."
The game got off to a slow start for Hastings. The Raiders fell behind 14-0 by halftime after Roseville scored touchdowns in each of the opening quarters. Turnovers stung Hastings.
"We had opportunities offensively," Strain said. "We didn't take advantage of them. Defensively, we didn't play all that badly, but they had a couple drives against us. We just felt like, if we could come back and clean those things up and make some more plays, that we'd have a chance. We ended up having that chance."
In the third quarter, Hastings got on the board with 5:55 to play when Brandon McCarthy scored on a two-yard run. Keegan McIntosh kicked the extra point, and Hastings pulled within seven points at 14-7.
Roseville countered by the end of the third quarter, though, and took a 21-7 lead.
Hastings really got moving in the fourth quarter, though, something Strain was encouraged to see.
"We credit the kids for not quitting," he said. "When you fall back down 14 points during that second half, it would have been easy for them to say that it wasn't our night. They didn't do that. We kept battling and made some plays to get back in it."
Hastings went on an eight-play drive that covered 82 yards, including a couple key conversions on third downs. Alex Wiese capped off the drive with a four-yard run. The extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the score at 21-13.
Hastings kicked off and put the pressure on its defense, calling for a three-and-out. That's exactly what Hastings got. Strain used his timeouts and Hastings got the ball back quickly. This time, it was a 10-play, 79-yard drive that got Hastings into the end zone. Zach Wiese scored on a 33-yard reception from Alex Wiese, and the score was 21-19.
"That was like a two-minute drill - it was a pressure situation," Strain said. "The kids knew they had to score. It's neat to see your kids in that situation where the pressure is on. They came up big and converted in a couple key situations."
In a wild series of events, Hastings first tried a two-point conversion with too many players on the field, pushing them back. That was followed by defensive pass interference and a false start penalty on Hastings. Eventually, Zach Wiese caught a 15-yard-pass from Alex Wiese and the game was tied 21-21.
The game went into overtime and Hastings got the ball first. Hastings wasn't able to move the ball much in overtime, and the team lined up for a field goal. Strain had called a fake, though. Zach Mellick got the ball and threw a 10-yard touchdown to Jayson Bauer.
Hastings then went for two and Alex Wiese converted on a run.
The Hastings defense went out and came up big again, stopping Roseville and preserving the win.
"We watched the film with the kids and their effort was phenomenal," Strain said. "It's just different at school this week. We're certainly glad we got it done on our end."
Hastings threw the ball all over the place on Friday night. Quarterback Alex Wiese completed 23 of 41 attempts for 311 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, Daryale Harris gained 83 yards on 21 carries to led the way, giving Hastings more than 400 yards of total offense.
The one fly in the ointment, though, was turnovers. Hastings fumbled the ball once and threw four interceptions.
"We are throwing it pretty good right now - we're just turning it over too much," Strain said. "Outside of that, we're moving the ball effectively."
Six different receivers caught passes for Hastings, with Zach Wiese having a phenomenal game. He caught nine passes for 192 yards, a touchdown and an extra point.
"He had the game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion," Strain said. "He was pretty dynamic on that night in the passing game. He's a tough kid to cover - we know that from when try to cover him during practice."
Ross Dylla had five catches for 22 yards.
John Tate caught four passes for 70 yards. Harris had one reception for 21 yards. McCarthy had two receptions for six yards and Bauer had one 10-yard catch.
The offensive line had another strong game, Strain said.
"Our pass protection up front with our offensive line and our tailback, they did a great job protecting the quarterback," Strain said.
On defense, Hastings got big stops when they needed them.
"At the end of the game there, there were about three drives in a row where we needed big stops," Strain said. "We couldn't' let them go on drives. Our defense stepped up and got that done for us. They were really good in the second half."
The team forced two interceptions and had a fumble recovery, too.
Drew Pottinger had one of the interceptions.
"That was an incredibly big play on his part," Strain said.
Colin Shoen also had an interception, with his coming late in regulation to prevent Roseville from getting a chance to win the game.
Mellick had a strong game, too, Strain said.
"He's our leader defensively," he said. "He's all over the field. He had another nice game for us."
Tory Behny had a fumble recovery, too.
Hastings plays host to perennial Suburban East Conference power Cretin-Derham Hall on Friday night. Cretin has a 2-1 record on the season. They opened the season with a 34-24 win over East Ridge. They lost to Mounds View, 17-16, then beat Stillwater, 27-13.
Cretin is led by James Onwualu, a wide receiver and running back who has committed to play collegiately at Notre Dame. He has 30 carries for 277 yards and seven catches for 109 yards. He has scored six touchdowns on the season.
"They've got some good skill position kids, and they've got a good offensive line as well," Strain said. "We'll have our hands full there. We'll have to put some points up offensively, and we can't turn it over in the process. We will not be able to overcome some of the mistakes we've made in other games. We'll have to play better than we have in order to have a chance to win the game, but we're capable of that."
Hastings will be taking part in a special Tackle Cancer fundraiser to benefit the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund. Fans in attendance at Friday's game will be asked to make a donation. The money raised will be sent to the foundation to fight cancer.
The Hastings junior varsity team is off to a great start this season. On Aug. 31, Hastings beat Mounds View, 14-8. Brandon McCarthy scored the game-winning touchdown for Hastings. On Sept. 8, Hastings beat Woodbury, 50-20, thanks in part to four touchdowns by Shane Anderson, an interception return for a touchdown by Jake Anderson and an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jacob Cooper. On Sept. 15, Hastings lost to Roseville, 28-6.
The sophomore team has an 0-3 record so far this year.
Stillwater, Mounds View and Roseville lead the sophomore standings with 3-0 records.