In a classic Eight-Player football game that featured 16 touchdowns, and an unofficial total of 1,010 yards of offense, Ar-We-Va notched what proved to be a game-winning touchdown and PAT with 11 seconds left to edge Newell Fonda 54-53 in an opening round playoff clash in Westside.
The game-winning Ar-We-Va score covered 59 yards in 1:52. With 2nd and goal to go from just inside the Mustangs 5 yard line inside the final minute, a Jake Danner sideline pass that was deflected in the secondary was initially ruled an interception by Reed Kruse, which would have clinched the game for Newell Fonda. However, the officials got together, and the pass was ruled incomplete, giving the Rockets new life. After a holding call made it 3rd and goal from the 15, Danner found Derek Schurke in the back of the end zone to tie the game, and then Drew Scherke’s point-after ended up giving Ar-We-Va the win. A desperation pass by Kruse in the final seconds was batted down just beyond mid-field to end the game.
Ar-We-Va led 14-0 early, but Newell Fonda battled back and were within 27-20 at halftime. The Mustangs took their first lead at 34-27 on a Kruse 10 yard touchdown run midway through the 3rd quarter. Both teams traded punches the rest of the way. A Kruse 1 yard TD run gave the Mustangs a 53-47 lead with 2:10 remaining before Ar-We-Va’s game-winning drive.
Kruse was just about unstoppable, as the Mustangs quarterback accounted for all of his team’s touchdowns, seven rushing, and also a 12-yard TD pass to RJ Rojas. Kruse carried the ball 40 times for 354 yards, and threw for 90 more. Kruse shared the Wells Ag Supply of Fonda Player of the Game with Austin Gerdes, who blocked a pair of PAT attempts, Nate Pedersen provided great defensive work and intercepted a pass, and the Mustangs offensive line also shared in the Player of the Game.
Ar-We-Va quarterback Jake Danner ran for 150 yards, and threw for 298. Derek Schurke had 14 catches, including four TD receptions, and 198 yards.
Ar-We-Va (8-2) will play at Harris Lake Park next Friday in the quarterfinals.
Newell Fonda’s season ends at 7-3. The Mustangs three seniors include Kruse, Coltin Schachtner-Kramer, and Sam Pitstick.