High School Football:
Saturday, October 31, 1998
By Gary Steiner
Three teams stood at 5-1 atop the Olympic American Division, Cherokee, Eastern, and Shawnee. So when Eastern visited Shawnee this day, both teams realized the significance of the game. Special teams would prove to be the difference, as the Vikings won 21-14 to give Coach Larry Ginsburg his 200th career victory.
Eastern jumped out to a 7-0 lead when Adam Taliaferro took the opening kickoff and ran it back for a 90-yard touchdown. Jason Kaye added on the PAT even after being moved back 5 yards on an offside penalty.
The Renegades went three and out, punting on a 4th and 7 at their own 27. But Eastern's Andrew Dawson dropped the ball, which was recovered by Shawnee's Chris Nardi. This gave them a 1st and 10 at the Eastern 45. But again Shawnee went three and out, punting to the Eastern 6-yard line. Two plays later, the Vikings fumbled, which was picked up by Shawnee's Mike Connelly and run in for the touchdown. Chad Williams' kick tied the score at 7-7 with 5:31 left in the 1st quarter.
The ensuing kickoff was in the end zone for a touchback, starting the Vikings on their own 20. They proceeded to put together a drive highlighted by a 58-yard run by Mitch Davis, a Highland transfer who had just been activated for this game after sitting out the required 30 days. Taliaferro capped the drive with a 2-yard run for the touchdown. Kaye's PAT made the score 14-7 with 2:44 left in the 1st quarter.
In the second quarter, both teams exchanged punts as things settled down. Then Shawnee put together a 93-yard drive, helped along by a 32-yard pass to Rich Palko, and a successful long count by quarterback Mike Connelly which drew Eastern offside on a 4th and 4 at the Vikings' 26-yard line. The Renegades scored on a 22-yard pass to Rich Palko, and Williams' PAT tied the score at 14-14 with 0:33 left on the clock.
To open the second half, Shawnee put together a drive that chewed up 5:32 off the clock, but fumbled the ball on Eastern's 30-yard line. Both defenses continued to play tough, as both teams exchanged punts. The wind helped Eastern's punt downed at the Shawnee 6-yard line, which set up a short punt into the wind by Shawnee which gave the Vikings a 1st and 10 at the Shawnee 40-yard line. The Vikings then scored on a 21-yard pass from Andrew Dawson to Khary Sharpe. Kaye's kick gave them a 21-14 lead with 9:16 left in the 4th quarter, which turned out to be enough for the win.
The Renegades were hurt on a turnover at 5:43 when on an Eastern punt, the ball hit a Shawnee player on a bounce and was recovered by the Vikings. On their last possession, the Renegades managed to drive down to the Eastern 15-yard line with 0:48 left on the clock, but a sack by Greg Wrenn followed by a sack from Keith Rodier was followed by an incomplete pass on a 4th and 20. Eastern took over on downs and ran out the clock to end the game.
Photos by Art Redd
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