Chickasaws fall in playoff heartbreaker
New Hampton’s turnaround season came to an end Friday night when North Fayette Valley kicked a 32-yard field goal with 2:48 left and then held off a late Chickasaw drive to post a 29-28 victory in the opening round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
The Chickasaws, who started the season 0-2, closed out the campaign with a 5-4 record while North Fayette Valley improved to 8-1 and will play in next week’s round of 16 games.
New Hampton took an early lead as it took the opening kickoff, drove 69 yards in 11 plays and got on the board with a Mason Lane-to-Drake Wermark 4-yard touchdown pass. That started a shootout of a first half as New Hampton also scored on a 20-yard pass from Lane and on a 66-yard pass from Braden McShane, but North Fayette Valley also scored on its first three possessions to send the teams into halftime knotted at 20.
New Hampton took the lead by taking the second half kickoff and putting together a 5 1/2-minute drive that ended on a spectacular 20-yard scoring pass from Lane to Wemark, who literally tipped the ball to himself, caught it and raced to the end zone.
North Fayette Valley responded with a 52-yard run by Kaleb White, but a misfire on the two-point pass allowed the Chickasaws to hold a 28-26 lead with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter.
The TigerHawks won the game with a drive late in the game, one that started at its own 11, but when Jacob Burgart came up with a tackle for loss and Kam Josephson picked up a sack, North Fayette Valley was forced to try a 32-yard field goal. And Tayler Luzum was up to the task.
The Chickasaws on its subsequent drive picked up two first downs — on passes to Wemark and Steinlage – but North Fayette Valley put the game away when Bryce Elsbernd picked off at the pass at the TigerHawk 6-yard line.
— For more on this story, see the Oct. 26 Tribune