ELC 41, Sheldon 33 Midgets’ heroics lead to homecoming win
Prior to Friday’s game, Estherville Lincoln Central players, students and fans honored local heroes-those who served country in the military as well as first responders, doctors and nurses.
By the end of the game, the ELC football team could find heroes among its ranks after a hard-fought 41-33 victory over Sheldon.
“We have a lot of close games this season. It feels better to be on the right side of it,” said ELC coach Andy Umthun. “We overcame a lot of adversity this week and overcame the distractions of homecoming and found a way to get it done. Tonight everyone had a job and they did it.”
In a game that swung back and fourth, ELC couldn’t begin to relax until an interception by Jacob Bosch sealed the Midget victory with just over a minute left in the game.
The first quarter saw five punts before ELC earned the first-first down of the game. That started the Midgets first drive from their 25-yard line. ELC had some solid runs by Myles McDonald and had first and goal at the 8-yard line after a run by Robert Sheridan.
But on third and goal at the 4-yard line, McDonald’s touchdown was called back as ELC faced third and goal at the 12.
However when quarterback Evan Olesen stepped back to pass, a hole opened up to his right and he took it to the end zone at the 11:47 mark of the third quarter.
With ELC getting the momentum, the Midgets defense forced Sheldon deep in its own territory.
ELC had just 38 yards to go for the score. Olesen connected with Bosch to get to the six. After a run by McDonald, Sheridan wrapped up the drive with a 2-yard run with 8:51 remaining as ELC led 12-.
But the momentum shifted when Sheldon’s Tyler Lobe took the ensuing kickoff return 90 yards for the answer. The extra point made the score 12-7 with 8:36 remaining.
Two series later, ELC drove inside the line, but Sheldon came up with a stand.
After taking over at the 6-yard line, two plays later a pass from Orab quarterback Jaden Kleinhesselink to Philip Cain went 92 yards. The kick put the Orabs ahead 14-12 with 3:48 remaining.
ELC had another chance to score as Olesen connected with Trey Jacobson inside the 5-yard line, but the ball came out as Sheldon jumped on it at the 3-yard line.
The Orabs started connecting on their passes and drove 97 yards, scoring on a 3-yard run with just 34 seconds left in the half. A blocked extra point by Isaac Johnson kept ELC within one score at 20-12.
The Midgets had the answer though.
Starting at the ELC 37, Olesen connected with Jacobson again. A tripping call against the Orabs gave ELC the ball at the Sheldon 37-yard line. ON third and four, Olesen threw to Bennett Loock in the left corner of the end zone. Despite a Sheldon defender swiping at the ball, Loock came down with the ball as time expired in the half. While Loock was injured and would not return, ELC added the two-point conversion when Clay Budach ran the ball in on a reverse to the right side to tie the game at 20-20.
ELC had to punt on its first drive, but pinned Sheldon inside the 15. A sack on third-and-eight at the Orab 4-yard line had Sheldon punting from its end zone.
ELC took advantage of the short punt and just two plays later, McDonald ran the ball in from 26 yards out. Aldo Alvarado’s’ extra point put ELC up 27-20 with 8:44 left in the third.
Sheldon answered with another drive of its own and scored on a 20-yard pass from Kleinhesselink to Philip Cain.
ELC again drove inside the Orab 10 and couldn’t convert as a fourth-day pass from Jacobson to Clay Budach dropped in the end zone.
However, ELC stopped Sheldon and came back. They needed just three plays with Olesen connecting with Jacobson on a 42-yard strike with 10:37 left in the game. Alvarado’s extra point kick gave ELC a 34-27 edge.
Sheldon again came back and scored on a 2-yard run with 5:50 remaining.
But ELC’s Sheridan’ blocked the extra point kick to keep ELC in the lead 34-33.
“I told Jacob (Bosch) to help cover my guy and gave it may all and went for it,” said Sheridan.
Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield and ELC didn’t take long to score again this time with McDonald finding a large home from 4-yards out. Alvarado’s kick completed the scoring with 1:40 remaining.
When Sheldon got the ball back, they got a first down on a defensive holding call, but Bosch intercepted Kleinhesselink on the next play. ELC’s offense got a first down before running out the clock.
ELC (2-4 overall, 1-3 in district play) goes on the road to take on Pocahontas Area/Laurens-Marathon this Friday.