Dutchmen thwart Cuba second-half rally

Will Johnson

One thing was guaranteed after Friday night’s Highway 19 football showdown between the host Owensville Dutchmen and Cuba’s Wildcats.

One team would walk away from the game with their first notch in the win column as both teams entered week three action dropping their first two games.

Leading 32-12 at halftime, Owensville’s lone second-half score came late in the fourth quarter when Kayne “The Big Orange Machine” Elms scooped up a fumble returning it nine yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown in OHS’ 38-34 victory over the visiting Wildcats.

“Even with the wet weather making ball security difficult at times, I thought our guys played pretty well tonight,” Long said.

Winning the opening coin toss, Owensville wisely chose to open the football game on offense.

Junior quarterback Trevor Abernathy at one point ran the ball three straight plays for 28 yards moving the Dutchmen into Wildcat territory while a steady rain was coming down over Dutchmen Field.

Nine plays into the drive, it nearly stalled deep in Cuba territory.

Faced with a third-and-14, Abernathy picked up 13 yards bringing up a fourth-and-one from Cuba’s 11-yard line.

Sophomore running back Garret West kept the drive alive with a 3-yard run good for a first down.

On the very next play, West found the end zone from eight yards out for his first varsity touchdown in an Owensville Dutchmen football uniform. OHS led 6-0 after Sebastian Dixon’s extra-point attempt went off the right upright.

Cuba had a quick answer on their next drive behind the arm of their quarterback TJ Bright.

Hooking up with Alan O’Neal on a 36-yard TD strike, Cuba knotted the score at 6-6 after they also missed their first extra point.

Forced to punt for the first time on their next possession, Owensville’s defense stepped it up.

Two plays after a sack from Dixon, a high snap on Cuba’s ensuing punt attempt helped the Dutchmen start their next drive on the Wildcat 7-yard line.

West doubled his touchdown total on the next play at the 1:06 mark of the opening quarter.

In spite of the missed two-point conversion, OHS now led 12-6.

Just over 40 ticks later, Owensville added to their lead.

Abernathy found open turf for a 42-yard TD run with 24.7 left in the opening 12 minutes. His two-point conversion pass to Cason Gray gave the Dutchmen a 20-6 after one quarter of football.

Sparked by a Brad Long sack, the Dutchmen defense forced Cuba into another punting situation.

Aided by a pass interference penalty on the Wildcats, West made it a hat trick with his third rushing touchdown from a yard out with 8:49 for the first half.

“Garret West had a great night running the football downhill,” Long said.

Now leading 26-6 after the missed two-point conversion, Owensville’s defense once again helped the offense get great field position.

After a Dallas Heckelmann sack, West picked off a Wildcat pass returning it back to the Cuba 24-yard line with 7:35 until halftime.

Benefited by yet another pass interference flag on Cuba, Abernathy capped a five-play, 24-yard drive with a 5-yard TD run with triple nickels for the half.

Another missed two-point conversion left OHS with a 32-12 lead by the end of a wet first half.

Even though they were outscored 22-6 in the second half, Owensville held on to put their first notch in the win column in 2018.

Heckelmann finished with 3.5 sacks tying him for seventh all time in MSHSAA history for most sacks in a game by one player.

Long chipped two sacks followed by Jarret Payne, Hunter Hutchison, Elms and Dixon each with a sack. Jacob Luther was also credited with half a sack.

Abernathy finished with 149 yards rushing on 15 carries to go along with 76 yards passing completing five of 15 attempts with one interception.