Hutton: Andrean breaks regional jinx with victory for the ages
By MIKE HUTTON email@example.com Twitter: @MikeHuttonPT November 9, 2012 11:26PM
Andrean's Head Coach Phil Mason sheds tears of joy with wife and daughter after defeating Lewis Cass during their Class 2A regional game held at Lewis Cass High School in Walton Indiana on Friday November 9, 2012. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 11, 2012 6:15AM
WALTON — Regional championship games are where Andrean’s dreams usually go to die.
The 59ers banished that nightmare in the wildest, most unbelievable way Friday night.
They won one for the ages. Someday, they’ll be able to tell their grandkids about the game that never ended. About the single most exciting game of their high school career. About how they ended the regional jinx for Andrean coach Phil Mason, who had lost three previous times as the head coach.
It’s hard to describe what happened at Lewis Cass Field on Friday night. Impossible really, unless you were there. There to watch Andrean lose it, win it, lose it, win it, lose it, win it, lose it and finally win it. There to watch Matt DeSomer run the ball eight times in five in overtimes. There to watch Cass know exactly what was coming —DeSomer off some ball fake, from the shotgun, picking a hole, sliding through a swarm of tacklers for three, four or five yards before diving in for a touchdown.
There to wonder why in the heck Cass couldn’t stop DeSomer when they knew exactly what was coming.
There to watch Matt Anderson, a junior kicker, nail the winning extra point in the fifth overtime, giving the 59ers a 67-66 victory.
There to watch Dakota Cooper knock away a pass on the two-point conversion by the Kings that would’ve possibly given Cass the win — or at the very least one more life.
There to see the Cass fans, after the game, giving both teams standing ovations as they mingled on the field, one side melting away in tears, the other side jubilant and relieved.
There to see Mason hug his wife, Dee, for what seemed like an eternity, tears streaming his face.
There to see Anderson kick an improbable, impossible 37-yard field goal with 55 seconds left — one that Mason admitted was pretty much a prayer. It cleared the goal post by maybe a foot.
There to watch Mason find every Cass player he could to tell them how proud he was of how hard they played and how he empathized with them. It hurts to lose but it really, really hurts to lose a 133-point slugfest that had the feel of a game that could’ve gone on for eternity.
There to see fans and friends of the team, celebrating on the field as the players tried to digest what happened.
It was a surreal sight, and really, all I can say is that words are hard to come by now.
It all started off so innocently, too.
There was an awful first quarter for the 59ers.
Cass was brushing through the 59ers like they were a Pop Warner team in the first quarter, scoring two touchdowns without even thinking about putting the ball in the air.
It’s always a lovely feeling when you’re a coach and you don’t have to throw the ball. That’s how it went for the Kings, who were ahead 12-0 before Andrean could really get a solid possession. They were feeling good and strong and maybe even a bit invincible.
Then something wonderful happened for the 59ers.
The second quarter started —and man, what a second quarter it was for only the second best team that resides on Broadway. If there has ever been a sweeter, finer more dominating second quarter for Andrean in the last five years than please let me know. It was the best 15 minutes Mason had ever seen from an Andrean team.
DeSomer slid the ball in the belly of his halfback twice and then tucked it under his arm twice for touchdown runs of 46 and 18 yards. Same play — twice. He hit Donovan Chandler and Tyler Petkovich for touchdown passes.
The 59ers cup was overflowing when they recovered a fumble at Cass’ 23. That caused Mason to jump up and down like a little kid.
It all turned bad, yes, even awful in the third quarter. It wasn’t the same team. Andrean turned the ball over twice and both turned into touchdowns. They were called for a roughing the passer penalty on third-and-15. That led to another TD by Cass.
But the miracle 37-yard field goal by Anderson tied the game at 31 after Cass had gone ahead.
That was only Anderson’s second field goal ever. Even he had his doubts. It was a low liner that just skidded over the uprights.
“I was just like, ‘Thank you, Jesus,’ ” he said.
After that, there was never a time that Andrean felt good about winning this one until Anderson came through again on the very last extra point after the last DeSomer TD of the night.
Finally, thankfully, exhaustingly so, it ended for the 59ers.
What a memory. What a memory.