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Home arrow Opinion arrow Imbler rallies against Antelopes

Imbler rallies against Antelopes

Adversity builds character. The Imbler football team and Austin Insko got a heavy dose of character building Friday.

"I didn't play as well as I wanted to," Insko said. "Kyle (Johnson) and I have been working all week on our timing, and I thought it was pretty good. I know I can catch the ball. Letting the team down is frustrating."

That frustration of droped passes accompanied with a 28-22 deficit at the half, helped fuel an improbable comeback. 

Insko played a promenade roll, helping rally the team in the fourth quarter to a 46-44 win.

By Paul Harder

The Observer 

Adversity builds character. The Imbler football team and Austin Insko got a heavy dose of character building Friday.

 

"I didn't play as well as I wanted to," Insko said. "Kyle (Johnson) and I have been working all week on our timing, and I thought it was pretty good. I know I can catch the ball. Letting the team down is frustrating."

 

That frustration of droped passes accompanied with a 28-22 deficit at the half, helped fuel an improbable comeback. 

Insko played a promenade roll, helping rally the team in the fourth quarter to a 46-44 win.

 

"It's an amazing feeling," Insko said. "In the huddle we didn't get down. We know we have play makers on this team. It just came down to sticking with what we worked on."

 

Trailing 44-22, following a Morgan White touchdown run, Imbler started to find some momentum.

 

"It's funny how the game works sometimes," Imbler head coach Lee Lowe said. "I thought we were getting what we wanted in the first quarter. Adrian grabbed and held the momentum the next two and half quarters, and then somehow we got it back."

 

The key, receivers started catching the ball. Not just the routine ones, but the spectacular ones, too. 

 

Senior quarterback Kyle Johnson continued to but the ball where it needed to be, and Insko started reeling them in.

Adrian botched a punt deep in their own territory, setting up a short field for the Panthers. Insko beat the defensive back on a slant for an 8-yard touchdown reception, trimming the Antelope lead to 42-30.

 

"We lost some playmakers last season," Lowe said. "The role players this season know what it's like to win. They've seen it, but they had to figure out how to do it themselves."

 

The defense made the next big play. Insko was again at the forefront.

 

Reagan Shira, the Adrian quarterback, dropped back and delivered a beautiful pass into the hands of his receiver. But, Insko got his hand in to break up the pass, and kill the Antelopes' drive forcing a punt.

 

That set up one of the craziest plays of the game. 

 

Insko again found one-on-one coverage on the outside. Johnson lofted the pass out to his receiver. Somehow Insko made the play.

 

"I looked back a little late," Insko said. "Kyle put the ball on the money. It just bounced right off my helmet. Fortunately, I saw it before the defensive back and was able to catch it."

 

Not only did Insko reel it in, but the junior caught it in stride and stepped out of a tackle to complete a 52-yard touchdown pass. Imbler, after a two-point conversion trailed 42-38. 

The Panthers went for the onside kick on the ensuing possession. Lee Lowe couldn't have drawn it up any better. Imbler had a chance to grab the ball, but Adrian somehow came up with it during the scrum on the ground. 

 

However, that's when Imbler got the final break it needed. The Adrian running back coughed up the ball and Calvin Shaffer of Imbler pounced on it.

 

After three plays and three yards gained, the game fell onto the shoulders of Johnson one more time. 

Shifting running back Joe Griffin into the receiver slot, Johnson floated the ball up for a make or break play. The speedy Griffin got enough separation to reel in the pass, and raced into the end zone. 

 

"We had to have it and the kids made it happen," Lowe said. "I'm getting to old for this. Adrian is a great team. They're going to win their fair share of games. Luckily for us this wasn't one of them."

 

Griffin bookended the scoring, putting the first points on the board with a 49-yard touchdown run. The junior finished with 144 yards on 20 attempts with a pair of touchdowns.

Insko reeled in two passes for 61 yards.

 

Johnson completed 8 of 22 passes for 130 yards. He had four touchdowns and an interception.

 

Bryson Shira led the Adrian rushing attack with 96 yards on 19 carries. The sophomore scored on a 2-yard run. He also added four receptions for 59 yards and a score.

 

Reagan Shira completed 10 of 16 pass attempts for 264 yards with two touchdowns.

 

Imbler will travel to Dufur for a 7 p.m. game Friday.  

 

 
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