Varsity football completes incredible fourth quarter drive to beat West Ottawa 30-27

With just 0:27.3 left on the clock, juniors Luke Majick and Tate Hallock connected on a perfectly placed pass down the near sideline to shut down a hopeful West Ottawa Panthers team 30-27.

After a stunning fourth quarter filled with back and forth scoring and big play after big play, the Rangers found a way to get the win. Head coach Tim Rogers could not be more pleased by his first-year junior quarterback Luke.

“He came in and did a great job,” Rogers said. “Luke was very poised and found our [outside] threats like Tate Hallock when we needed to. They both made a big play when they needed to.”

FHC’s final drive started with just 2:58 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, and down 27-23. After a quick 15-yard pitch and catch from Luke to senior tight end Michael Peliotes, the Rangers were well set up nicely with 2:30 remaining.

The Rangers drive was slowed quickly, however, by the Panther defense, giving them and huge fourth and long from their own 42-yard line. Luke found senior captain and wide receiver Bryce Clay across the middle who broke two tackles, was upended, but still went across the first down line.

After nickeling and diming themselves down at the West Ottawa 25 with just over 30 seconds to play, Luke got the snap and took a quick look to his left before turning and airing the ball downfield in front of the Panther sideline to put the dagger in an incredibly improved West Ottawa team.

“Our offensive lines and our receivers did a heck of a job tonight,” Luke said. “We had great blocking and they let me look my throws down tonight. [The receivers] ran great routes and got open. I just tried to be a great leader tonight and get the ball in the hands of our playmakers so they could go make plays.”

We called the right play, but I couldn’t have done it without Luke’s pass and our o-line.”

— Junior Tate Hallock

Tate also harped on the success of Luke and the offensive line as a unit in their final drive.

“We were really feeling it as a team,” said Tate, who caught his first career game winning touchdown pass tonight. “We called the right play, but I couldn’t have done it without Luke’s pass and our o-line. Luke just made a great pass and [the offensive line] blocked for me.”

The offense caught fire at the right times towards the end of the game but found themselves off to another slow start early on. It took until the second quarter for first half starting quarterback, senior Jace Thornton, to sneak in with a three-yard touchdown run. This kept the Rangers equal at 6-6 heading into the half.

Sarah Obermeyer

After a quick West Ottawa score, and a quarterback substitution for the Rangers, Luke found Bryce for a 30-yard strike to tie the game again at 13-13. Bryce then had a moment of deja vu late in the third quarter, stripping the ball from the West Ottawa back and taking it to the house on third and short for the Panthers.

Senior kicker Daniel Riser stepped up in times of need as well tonight, giving the Rangers a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter with a 31-yard field goal. He would also hit an essential extra point to keep the three-point lead, capping off their fourth quarter comeback.

Sarah Obermeyer

The defense for the Rangers stepped up in the moments it mattered, but overall throughout the game, did not play how they would’ve liked.

“They gave us some problems,” said Coach Rogers, now in his second year as the team’s defensive coordinator. “We played pretty good, but we did not play good enough. We did some great things in key situations, but the other stuff has to get fixed.”

The Rangers, regardless of the overall performance, made a couple of game saving plays on the defensive side, including a fourth and two stop when the game was tied in the fourth quarter. An attempted run up the middle was flooded by Rangers and brought down for a one-yard loss and a Ranger turnover.

Sarah Obermeyer

Senior defensive ends Michael and Elijah Gurley also made a big play with zero seconds left on the clock, chasing down and eventually sacking the Panther quarterback, ending an outstanding roller coaster ride of a game.

“Like I said, the other stuff has to get fixed,” said Rogers. “But I’m glad to come away with a victory and not play our best performance.”