Caney Creek’s Chris Coffer scored on a 14-yard run in overtime before teammate Austin McKean sealed it with an interception in the Panthers’ 34-28 victory over Bryan Rudder on Friday at Buddy Moorhead Memorial Stadium.
The Panthers got the ball at the Rudder 22-yard line with 1:41 left in regulation after a shanked punt, but Christian Alvarez’s 31-yard field-goal try was wide left, forcing the overtime.
Rudder had a chance in the extra period, blocking the extra-point attempt following Coffer’s touchdown, giving Rudder the ball and Caney Creek just a six-point lead.
McKean dashed Rudder’s (0-5, 0-3) hopes for their first win of the season, picking off quarterback Brady Batten at the Caney Creek 5.
“I just read the quarterback’s eyes and went after the ball,” McKean said. “We needed that win.”
Caney Creek broke a three-game losing streak and improved to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in District 18-4A play. Rudder fell to 0-5 and 0-3 respectively.
Coffer carried the ball 26 times for 214 yards and the decisive touchdown.
“If we’re going to win, it’s going to be exciting,” Caney Creek coach Brent Verzwyvelt said. “Our defense, that’s the best game we’ve played since I’ve been here — the hitting, the passion, the desire.
“If you win the turnover battle, you have a great chance to win.”
Caney Creek lost three fumbles in the second half, but the Panthers turned one of Rudder’s own fumbles into points. Collin Sells recovered a fumbled exchange and scored on a 14-yard return with 48 seconds left in the third quarter.
Rudder came back to tie the score at 28 with 6:51 left in regulation. Batten hit a wide-open Mark Davenport in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass, and Eric Housman’s extra point tied the game.
Caney Creek’s Robert Gordon fired a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Lamb with 3:24 left in the first quarter, putting the Panthers in front 7-0.
Batten responded, taking the Rangers quickly downfield and throwing a 20-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Johnson, but Caney Creek answered.
Zach Biles broke off a 36-yard run on a reverse, before Gordon scored on a 1-yard run early in the second quarter.
Batten again hit Davenport in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 6:27 left in the first half, but the extra-point try failed, and the Panthers led 14-13 at halftime.
Rudder had a chance to score before halftime, but Robert Lee fumbled inside the 5-yard line and the ball went beyond the end line for a touchback.
Lee scored on a 3-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter and added a two-point conversion, putting the Rangers in front 21-14. But Caney Creek scored on its next series, with Jeremy Collins slicing through the Rudder defense for a nifty 18-yard touchdown run.
Batten completed 13 of 31 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns, while Gordon went 4-for-7 for 74 yards and a touchdown. Both quarterbacks were intercepted once.