Field goal lifts Swedes to victory
Freshman hits 36-yard kick with seconds left.
MINDEN—Gothenburg football coach Craig Haake admittedly knows little about the mechanics of kicking field goals.
His last words of advice to Swede freshman Trent Long Friday night were, “Keep your head down.”
Whether the young kicker followed that direction or not, Haake doesn’t know.
All that matters, the coach said, is that with a only handful of seconds on the clock, the youngster hit a 36-yard field goal that would likely have been good from 45 yards to boost the Swedes past the Whippets 24-21.
“Trent stayed calm even though Minden took two time-outs to try and ice him,” Haake said. “He did a great job.”
The winning kick topped several edge-of-your-seat situations throughout the football game.
To start with, senior Dillon McMichael broke through Minden’s wedge on Gothenburg’s opening kickoff to force a fumble and recover the ball on the Whippet 25 yard line.
After five plays, Swede running back Tyler Aden carried the ball in from 4 yards out and Long hit the PAT for an early 7-0 Gothenburg lead.
Minden threatened to score on the kickoff, returning the ball to Gothenburg’s 20 yard line but the Swedes held them out.
Starting deep, the Swedes couldn’t get anything going on their second possession and Minden came right back to tie the score with a short run and PAT kick.
In the second quarter, Gothenburg capped a 50-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jackson Graham to receiver Korey Ahlenstorf.
Long’s PAT put the Swedes up 14-7.
Minden countered, though, and scored again with a couple minutes left before halftime.
The teams hit the locker room in a 14-14 tie.
“I knew we were going to get the ball back to start the second half,” Haake said. “And I knew they weren’t shutting us down at all. We were doing it to ourselves.”
During the third period, Haake said the Swedes moved the ball well but couldn’t stay out of trouble as penalties mounted on top of penalties.
“We had to punt from our own 25 or 30 yard line twice in the third quarter,” he said.
But with about two and a half minutes left in the third quarter, the Swedes mounted a methodical 85-yard drive that included what Haake called a beautiful 20-yard pass play from Graham to Ahlenstorf.
That drive, which lasted well into the fourth period, ended with a 13-yard touchdown run by Aden and a PAT by Long.
“We ate up a lot of clock,” Haake said. “Our offensive line was teeing off and we were in total control.”
Trailing 21-14 with roughly three minutes left in the ball game, Minden returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards to tie the score again.
“That was really a downer,” Haake said. “Minden hadn’t done much at all in the second half and we went from feeling very good about things to being in question again.”
Haake had no timeouts left but said he felt like three minutes gave the Swedes time to do what they needed to do.
“We moved the ball well,” the coach said. “Tyler did a lot of work running, ripping off chunks of yardage.”
From the Minden 37 yard line, Graham fit a pass into a small window and
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