Tigers win thriller over SpoonerNorthwestern still undefeated thanks to Orme’s last-second field goal
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
MAPLE — Last year the game came down to an extra-point kick. This year it hinged on a field goal, and all the pressure was on Northwestern High School sophomore Jordan Orme.
With 3.8 seconds left on the clock, Orme lined up to kick a 23-yard field goal. If he missed, the Northwestern Tigers were headed into overtime against the Spooner Rails for the second consecutive year.
The sophomore had two timeouts to think about the kick, and then as he prepared for the attempt, Northwestern was hit with a false start penalty. That tacked another 5 yards onto Orme’s task.
But despite the delays and the pressure, Orme came through for the Tigers by drilling the 28-yard field goal to give Northwestern the 24-21 victory.
“I’m known for my nerves being pretty cool,” Orme said. “I was just focused on making the kick. I’ve done it a million times in practice.”
Orme also had confidence from his perfect performance in the first three and a half quarters Friday night. He was 3-for-3 on extra point attempts before stepping up to kick the game-winning field goal.
“He’s a tough kid,” said Northwestern coach Dennis Scherz. “He probably would have kicked the field goal from 40 yards back, but I just told him to be ready when I needed him.”
Orme’s kick gave the Tigers the win, but it was the stellar fourth-quarter play of his teammates that put the Tigers in position.
With the score tied 21-21, Northwestern took over possession with two minutes remaining when Johnny Parkins sacked Spooner quarterback Gavin Anderson to force a punt. The Tigers started at their own 25-yard line, and after a penalty set them back 5 yards, Nathan Sikorski broke through with an 11-yard run to get to the 31. Sikorski picked up another 3 yards on the next play, and Mark Pooler bowled through to the 37 for the first down.
Northwestern then went back to Sikorski for consecutive plays. He ran into Spooner territory on the first run of 14 yards and followed with a 12-yard sprint to put the Tigers at the 37-yard line with 36 seconds remaining.
“We weren’t going to take any chances,” Scherz said. “We knew Sikorski could get the yards for us, and he got about 20 to get us across the 40. He got us to an area where we could take chances.”
The first chance Northwestern took paid off, as Peter Lindsay connected with Tanner Follis on a 26-yard pass. That put the Tigers 11 yards from the end zone with 21.9 seconds to play. Sikorski got Northwestern down to the 6, and then it was time for Orme to come into the game.
“They were great,” Orme said. “I was just focusing through that entire last drive and knowing if my time came, I had to make the kick.”
Orme’s field goal snapped the 21-21 tie and moved the Tigers to 2-0 for the season. It also avenged last year’s 28-27 loss to Spooner, which came in double overtime.
“This one would have been a tough one to walk away from with a loss,” Scherz said. “I felt this was a pivotal game. Just like Spooner last year, they won that time and they go and reel off a bunch of wins. This is that kind of game.”
The Rails, known for their passing game, picked up most of their yardage on the ground Friday. Anderson was 7-of-17 passing for 69 yards and led Spooner with another 77 yards rushing. Anderson’s yardage on the ground included a 67-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
“He had to be a little bit more of a runner tonight than he has been in the past,” said Spooner coach Josh Fizel.
Spooner finished with 157 yards rushing and 226 yards of total offense. Northwestern had 360 yards of total offense, 309 coming on the ground.
Sikorski led Northwestern with 145 yards rushing on 30 attempts. Lindsay added 69 yards rushing while going 3-6 in the air for 51 yards. He had two rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown — to Micah Olson.
Pooler finished with 57 yards for the Tigers and Nick Murray had 38.
On defense, Murray had an interception, while Justin Miesbauer and Parkins both had sacks.
“It was a total team effort,” Scherz said. “Every player made mistakes and everyone did something special.”
The majority of Northwestern’s mistakes came in the second quarter. After both teams scored one touchdown apiece in the first quarter, the Tigers took the lead with a 67-yard, nine-play drive early in the second quarter.
Lindsay and Sikorski alternated carrying the ball to reach midfield, and a big run by Lindsay gave Northwestern a first down at Spooner’s 20-yard line. On the ensuing play the Tigers fumbled and Spooner appeared to recover, but Northwestern emerged with the ball to retain possession. A Spooner player was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct during the controversial play, and the penalty put Northwestern at the 7-yard line.
“We tried to get the kids to just focus on the next play, and I thought they did that for the most part,” Fizel said.
The Rails stopped Northwestern for a loss before Lindsay completed an 11-yard pass to Olson for the touchdown.
Spooner needed only 20 seconds and one play to tie the score at 14-14. Anderson made the play for the Rails by hopping over a Northwestern defender and running into the open field for a nearly 70-yard touchdown.
Both teams struggled for the remaining nine minutes of the second quarter. Northwestern fumbled away the ball on consecutive possessions and then turned the ball over on downs. Spooner punted twice and turned the ball over on downs once.
In the third quarter, Spooner took a 21-14 lead when Jordan Shaver scored a 30-yard touchdown and Errick Kafura kicked the extra point. The Tigers went scoreless in the third quarter and trailed until 4:10 in the final quarter.
Northwestern’s tying drive began at the Tigers’ own 26-yard line and lasted nearly five and a half minutes. The Tigers benefitted from a Spooner facemask penalty and determined performances from their seniors. The drive ended when the offensive line opened a hole for Lindsay and he ran untouched for the 12-yard score.
Spooner had a chance to reclaim the lead with 3:59 to play, but a false start and incomplete pass set the Rails back behind the line of scrimmage. Parkins ended to the drive with a sack, and Northwestern then had just over two minutes to set up its game-winning field goal.
“I told the kids there was really no one play that determined the outcome,” Fizel said. “You had two good football teams, and unfortunately one of them had to come up on the short end. Unfortunately that was us.”
Northwestern 7 7 0 10 — 24
Spooner 7 7 7 0 — 21
N—Peter Lindsay, 14-yard run (Jordan Orme kick), 2:55.
S—Tanner Vik, 36-yard fumble recovery (Errick Kafura kick), 1:39.
N—Lindsay 11-yard pass to Micah Olson (Orme kick), 9:35.
S—Gavin Anderson, 67-yard run (Kafura kick), 9:14.
S—Jordan Shaver, 30-yard run (Kafura kick), 7:39.
N—Lindsay, 12-yard run (Orme kick), 4:10.
N—Orme 28-yard field goal, :00.
First downs 23 10
Rushing yards 309 157
Pass completions-attps 3-6 7-17
Passing yards 51 69
Total plays 67 44
Total offense 360 226
Fumbles-lost 4-2 1-0
Penalties-yards 2-10 5-40
Time of poss. 26:15 21:45