The big game

syeagle@demo-mo.comOctober 31, 2013 

The victory was more than just another notch in the win column.

Pleasant Hill’s 31-29 win over Harrisonville Oct. 25 cemented lots of accolades for the Roosters. It was the Missouri River Valley West clash that clinched the conference title for Pleasant Hill, it was the last regular season win that kept the Roosters undefeated going into district play, and it was the first time the Roosters had beaten the Wildcats since 1982.

The win also made it the first undefeated regular season for Pleasant Hill since 1966. But today’s Pleasant Hill team wasn’t thinking about the past.

“I don’t care about that,” Pleasant Hill senior quarterback Josh Shewmaker said. “The streak is over now.”

The Wildcats didn’t make it easy on the Roosters, and the game was a nail-biter to the final seconds.

Pleasant Hill started things off in the first quarter after forcing a Harrisonville punt. Shewmaker carried the ball for 23 yards for a touchdown at the 8:04 minute mark. With the extra point by junior kicker Tanner Pettet, the Roosters led 7-0.

But Harrisonville came right back. Starting on the 20-yard line from a touch back on the kickoff, the Wildcats pushed their way down the field, picking up five first downs, the last on the 2-yard line. Senior running back Austin Hopper finished the drive with a 2-yard run and Harrisonville knotted the score at 7-7 with 2:50 minutes in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats got ahead with a 25-yard pass from senior quarterback Zach Davidson to junior running back Sherman Hartzler to lead 14-7.

Pleasant Hill couldn’t capitalize on their next possession, punting the ball away, but Pleasant Hill senior defensive back Tyler Sanford immediately picked up a fumble on the first Harrisonville play. The Roosters had to punt away possession again and this time, the Wildcats took advantage.

Harrisonville marched down the field, picking up a first down on the 8-yard line. Hopper ran in the final eight yards for a touchdown with just over a minute left in the first half, giving the Wildcats a 21-7 lead.

“When we were behind like that, you just have to make adjustments,” Shewmaker said. “You trust your coaches to make those adjustments and you just have to execute.”

In the third quarter, on Pleasant Hill’s second possession, Shewmaker connected with junior wide receiver Cole Miller for a 24-yard touchdown, closing the gap to 21-14 with 5:00 left.

Harrisonville took the possession into the fourth quarter, but had to punt the ball away. Pleasant Hill slowly chipped away at the yardage, finally scoring on a 6-yard run by Shewmaker with 6:13 left in the game. With Pettet’s extra point, the score was all tied up at 21-21.

After forcing the Wildcats to punt, the Roosters made quick work next, as Shewmaker connected with sophomore running back Olen Brattin for a 44-yard touchdown pass. Pleasant Hill led 28-21 with just under four minutes left to play.

A determined Wildcat offense picked up first down after first down, capping the drive with a 9-yard touchdown carry by Hopper. Not wanting to leave the game tied with 1:18 minutes left, Harrisonville went for it. Davidson found senior running back Mason Saffels for the two-point conversion pass, giving Harrisonville a 29-28 lead.

With just over a minute left, Pleasant Hill started their way down the field with a kickoff return by junior running back Kolin Rogers to the 46-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Shewmaker carried the ball twice to gain a first down on the 33-yard line.

Senior receiver Micah Webber caught a pass from Shewmaker on the 16-yard line for another first down and Sanford caught a pass on the 7-yard line. Shewmaker was met at the line of scrimmage on the next play and the Roosters called a time out with 16.2 seconds left.

Shewmaker was sacked by Harrisonville junior linebacker Nick Kreimeyer to the 20-yard line with under 10 seconds left. So, it was up to Pettet to make a 30-yard field goal for the win. It’s a good thing he wasn’t nervous.

“We practice this every week,” he said.

After the ball sailed through the crossbars, the Roosters sighed in relief.

“I feel fantastic,” Pettet said. “I’m going through a lot of emotions.”

“I feel amazing,” Shewmaker added. “I don’t care how we did it. We fought and fought and fought. I don’t care how, we just won. Bottom line, we won. It’s a great day, a good day for us.”

The Roosters, 9-0, hosted Grain Valley in the first round of district play Oct. 31. Harrisonville, 6-3, hosted Raytown South.

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