Saturday's contest in Orangeville between the host Broncos and visiting East Dubuque Warriors was a key match-up to get to that 3rd win, where the winner would get their 3rd loss, ultimately making it harder for their road to make the playoffs.
The Warriors would get on the board first, as Zach Meyer would run into the endzone from a yard out for an early 1st quarter 6-0 lead. Orangeville would respond later in the 1st quarter, as Garret Rodebaugh would punch it in from 7 yards out. The Zach Baker kick was good, and would give Orangeville a 7-6 lead as they would close out the 1st quarter.
In the 2nd quarter, you could see the intensity of the game start to pick up. Orangeville would go on a long drive, pounding the ball with Rodebaugh, Carter Kleckler, and Chase Jordan. At the end of the drive it was Rodebaugh who carry the ball in from 10 yards out. The Baker kick was good, and Orangeville had a 14-6 lead they would take into halftime.
Opening up the 2nd half, Orangeville would receive the ball. After a couple minutes, Jordan would break off a 31 yard touchdown run, putting the Broncos up 21-6, and what looked to be in full control of the game with 9:57 to play in the 3rd quarter.
After the kickoff, Sam Huntington would take the ball off left tackle, cut back to his right, and found a hole in the Bronco secondary that he darted through for a 55 yard touchdown run. The two point try was good, as the Warriors cut the Bronco lead to 21-14 with 9:38 to play in the 3rd.
Like two prize fighters getting ready to go the distance, they would enter the 4th quarter with Orangeville holding onto the lead. East Dubuque would eventually get the ball and start a drive around their own 30 yard line. A pass across the middle to Declin Schemmel was met by a ferocious hit by Carter Kleckler. What appeared to be a shoulder to shoulder hit was called for a penalty, hitting a defenseless player. Schemmel would leave the game after the hit. It was a mind boggling call, but it would move the Warriors forward. A short time later, a pass play to the left sideline toward the Orangeville bench ended in another penalty. This time it was a flag on Cade Janecke for a facemask. The play looked innocent, clearly no facemask was used to bring the receiver down, but the side judge ruled that Janecke had pulled the runner by the back of the helmet. Either case, it led to another first down for the Warriors. East Dubuque would see Schemmel return to the game, and Meyer would connect with him for a 16 yard tip toe catch in the back of the endzone. The Warriors would go for two, and it was successful, as East Dubuque turned the game around and took a 22-21 lead with 4:57 to play.
Backed up against the ropes, the Broncos had to do something now. With the Warriors starting to key in on the run, quarterback Jake Doyle dropped back and found Garret Rodebaugh down the right sideline on a 45 yard gain on a big down 3rd down play. If that play doesn't happen, it would be pretty much be game over, but the Broncos were still fighting. Another run by Rodebaugh would get the Broncos to the 8 yard line. From there, it was Kleckler's turn, as he took the ball right up the gut and delivered another huge blow powering his way into the endzone. Needing to go go for two, Rodebaugh would break off the 5 hole that was wide open and dive right in for the two point conversion giving the Broncos a 29-22 lead with 1:29 to play.
The Warriors weren't about to back down. Meyer dropped back to pass and found Dawson Feyen on a 27 yard pitch and catch. Another big hit by Kleckler was penalized for a personal foul, and moved the chains forward again. A few plays later the Warriors found themselves at the Bronco 3 yard line. Meyer would connect with Schemmel again on a 3 yard touchdown pass with 6 seconds remaining in the game. In an attempt to put the game away, East Dubuque went for the two point conversion. The Meyer pass play was defended perfectly by Jake Doyle, as the pass was incomplete preserving the Bronco lead to 29-28.
East Dubuque would attempt the onside kick, but the Broncos covered it up and then went to victory formation to seal the homecoming victory.
Orangeville will hit the road to face off with Lena-Winslow (5-0), while East Dubuque returns home for a big game with Dakota (2-3), another game that will be critical for the playoff picture for each team.
Leading the way for the Broncos was Garret Rodebaugh, who rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns, and had 45 yards receiving. Chase Jordan added 104 yards rushing and 1 touchdown, along with 21 yards receiving, and Carter Kleckler would finish his day with 56 yards rushing and 1 touchdown.
For East Dubuque, Zach Meyer was 13-24 passing for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 interception, along with 19 yards rushing and another score. Declin Schemmel was his leading target with 5 receptions for 56 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sam Huntington would pick up 93 yards on the ground with 1 touchdown.