Football: Andrean holds off Rensselaer to win sectional title
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent November 2, 2012 11:32PM
Andrean's Trevor Berg heads to the endzone for a touchdown with Renssalaer's Brad Boget trying to stop in the first quarter at Andrean High School Friday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 4, 2012 6:15AM
MERRILLVILLE — Trevor Berg’s right knee had to be OK. Andrean’s sophomore running back had already eclipsed 150 yards on his first 15 carries, but he had to limp off the field late in the fourth quarter, with the 59ers tied with Rensselaer.
“At first, I thought it was just a little cramping,” Berg said. “But the pain went away real quick. I just wanted to get back on the field as fast as I could.”
When he returned, Andrean had reached the Bombers’ 29-yard line with just a few minutes left in the Class 2A Sectional 25 championship. On his first play back, Berg picked up 13 yards. On the next play, Berg took off around the right side for a 16-yard game-winningtouchdown run in Andrean’s 28-21 victory over Rensselaer.
“That was the best feeling in the world; I’ve never felt that way in my entire life,” Berg said of the final touchdown — his third of the night. He finished with 195 of his team’s 297 total rushing yards on 17 carries.
“He’s a tough kid; we knew that coming in. And we know we’re going to get great things out of him,” said Andrean head coach Phil Mason. “But (fullback) Zack Kogut did a great job of opening some holes for him and our offensive line did a great job, too.”
After Berg’s final touchdown, Rensselaer began its final drive at the 25-yard line and moved into 59ers’ territory before Nick Serrato’s interception ended the game, giving Andrean its 15th sectional title and its first in Class 2A.
But it was far from a clean win.
“We didn’t play that well, and Rensselaer fought the fight,” Mason said. “We made some mistakes that we just can’t have. With that being said, we stayed the course and made some plays at the end when we had to.”
Three first-half turnovers plagued the Niners early, evoking memories of last year’s sectional loss to Wheeler, when Andrean committed eight turnovers.
The first turnover came on what Mason called a “fluke play,” when a Rensselaer punt bounced off of an Andrean player and the Bombers recovered at the Andrean 33. Eight plays later, a one-yard TD run by Rylan Arihood tied the game at seven.
Berg scored his second touchdown of the night on the first play of the ensuing drive, racing 80 yards through the Rensselaer defense.
In the second quarter, Ramon Guerrero picked off a Bombers’ pass, but fumbled the ball right back to Rensselaer during the return for Andrean’s second turnover of the night.
The third turnover was even more damaging. After Andrean reached the Rensselaer 5-yard line, the drive imploded on a false start penalty and a Matt DeSomer interception with less than a minute remaining in the half.
“We had a great drive that probably would’ve put the game away, but then we had a penalty and threw an interception,” Mason said. “That just can’t happen. We didn’t have a smoothness to the offense like we’ve had lately.”
After scoring more than 60 points in the previous two games, Andrean led just 14-7 after two quarters. That lead reached 21-7 when Kogut capped an 8-play, 33-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. By the middle of the fourth quarter, though, the Bombers evened the score on a pair of scoring drives sandwiched around an Andrean three-and-out.
“If you don’t put them away, good teams are going to do what they did,” said Mason. “We haven’t done that kind of stuff. I don’t know if it was sectional championship jitters but hopefully we got it out of our system.”