KENDALLVILLE – Three years. Twenty-seven regular-season games. One thousand, ninety-eight days.
And none of them quite like this one.
No Friday night like this, with the Homestead Spartans walking into a left hook, and then a boarding-house right, and looking at defeat, blearily, from atop legs that suddenly felt as insubstantial as smoke. And then, finding those legs and reattaching their wits and, yes, winning again.
The final 17-14, Spartans, this Friday night, Homestead coming back from two touchdowns adrift to beat a deep and talented East Noble club that was aching to take them down. It was Homesteads 27th straight regular-season win and 21st straight NHC win, a streak that, as of this morning, now goes back 1,099 days.
And it was defense that did it – plus a junior quarterback, a sophomore receiver and a junior place-kicker, among many others.
The kids, they showed some resilience the last couple weeks, said Homestead coach Chad Zolman, whose team trailed 14-0 less than eight minutes in, only to win it on Jack Dugans 25-yard field goal with 1:06 to play.
Thats a good sign for us. Were very, very young. And to see these kids fight, and fight back from a two-touchdown deficit and take it in, especially at the end. Just a very satisfying win for our team.
Especially given the way it started.
East Noble went 54 yards in 10 plays on the games first possession, Brandon Mable breezing untouched over the right side from a yard out for the six. Four plays later, Homestead quarterback Logan Ormsby was hit in the backfield and fumbled. Eight plays after that, Mable ripped through a welter of tacklers from seven yards away to make it 14-0 with 4:39 still to run in the first quarter.
We looked like we were stuck in the mud, Zolman said.
Then again, it was also the last time all night East Noble and the scoreboard would exchange greetings.
As the Homestead defense tightened, Ormsby got one back on a 1-yard keeper set up by his 48-yard strike to Austin Krider on the previous play. Then, with 2:02 left in the third quarter, he hit sophomore Ben Skowronek on fourth-and-14 from the 24, and Skorownek bounced off a hit, kept his balance and took it home to make it 14-14.
It stayed that way until Homestead got the ball at its own 15 with 5:03 to play, and Ormsby – who threw for 227 yards – took the Spartans 77 yards in 11 plays for the win, completing 5 of 5 passes along the way.
We knew that we could win, Skowronek said. We just kept on fighting.
That about the gist of it, Coach?
We challenged them a little bit, and they responded, said Zolman, whose defense held Mable to 13 yards in the second after Mable dinged the Spartans for 79 and two scores in the first. Our coaches did an outstanding job making some adjustments put some kids in the right spots, and our kids really responded well in the second half.