CAMDEN — The Preble Shawnee Arrow defense didn’t get many stops when they hosted Waynesville on Friday, Oct. 16, but the defense got the one it needed as it prevented Waynesville from scoring with a goal line stand in the closing moments of the Arrows’ 56-48 victory.
Preble Shawnee took a 54-26 lead late in the third quarter when Luke Lovely scored from 26 yards out, seemingly closing the game out.
However, behind the arm of a backup, freshman quarterback, Waynesville scored three straight times and suddenly Preble Shawnee’s players found themselves battling to end a five-game losing streak.
The Arrow defense recovered, however, and found a way to hold Waynesville out of the end zone despite a short yardage situation and hung on to the win on the game’s final possession.
Waynesville had a first and goal from the one before a false start penalty pushed them back five yards. An incomplete pass made it second down from the six and Waynesville ran a pitch play to get in the end zone — but a lineman was caught holding, pushing the Spartans back to the 20.
Time ran out on the clock as the third straight incomplete pass was batted down by the Arrow defense and the team hung out for its third win of the year.
Head coach Matt Hopkins talked about his team’s determination after the game.
“Our guys were determined not to let them score that final touchdown,” he said. “They were aware of the situation and what Waynesville was probably going to do to try to score, and our guys played within themselves and did their job to the best of their ability.”
Perhaps forgotten in the crazy finish was the outstanding first-half by junior running back Matt Hall, who ran through, around and over the Spartan defense on his way to 200 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns.
Lovely opened the scoring on a 56-yard screen pass from Joby Williams for a touchdown before Waynesville scored two quick touchdowns to take a 13-6 lead with 4:02 left in the first.
Matt Hall ripped off a 60-yard run and capped off the drive with a touchdown on the next play to give the Arrows back the lead.
Shawnee had a bit of misfortune as a bad punt hit a blocking Arrow in the back and Waynesville recovered the fumble.
John Powers however stepped up and forced a fumble on the pursuing drive to give the Arrows the ball back. Chase Thompson finished of the drive with a short rushing touchdown and the Arrows took a 20-13 lead with nine minutes left in the half.
Another Waynesville fumble set up another long Matt Hall touchdown to make the score 26-13 with eight minutes left in the half.
Shawnee scored on another Williams touchdown run from 10 yards, and one more from Lovely before the end of the half, giving the team a 40-19 halftime lead.
Williams scored with about four minutes to go in the third to make the score 47-19.
Lovely finished with 83 yards and two touchdowns rushing, and three receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown.
The Arrows improve to 3-5 on the season as they prepare to host Northridge, who is also 3-5, on Friday, Oct. 16.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.