Rummel, the reigning 5A state champion, had a nearly perfect opening drive and a dominant first half, and it appeared on its way to its fourth win of the season Friday night at Dutchtown.
Then the momentum changed, the Raiders lost a key player to injury and the Griffins came off the mat to pull out a 31-28 win in double overtime.
The game came down to a battle of kickers, and in the second overtime Brad Bergeron nailed a 20-yard field goal for Dutchtown while Justin Mourain failed to connect on fourth down on the Raiders’ ensuing possession.
“We willed ourselves into this game,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “I can’t say enough about our offensive line. We played two quarterbacks, and both contributed. We didn’t start the way we wanted, but I told them at halftime, ‘Play like it’s 0-0. Just try to win the second half.’ And damned if they didn’t win the game.”
Kajuan Coleman was the rushing leader for Dutchtown (4-1), netting 122 on 15 carries, including a 39-yard touchdown run with 8:14 left in the game to pull the Griffins within seven at 21-14, and a 10-yard score in the first overtime after Rummel (3-2) had gone ahead 28-21 in the first overtime on a 5-yard run by workhorse Ivan Phipps.
Phipps took on the workload when Keith Fulton left the game with an injury in the second quarter and did not return. The 5-foot-5 running back gained 129 yards on 34 carries and scored another touchdown on a 2-yard run.
Rummel coach Jay Roth summed up his team’s effort by dividing the game into two parts.
“Perfect 10 minutes, and that’s about it. And the game’s 48,” he said. “The momentum changed even before they scored. There’s a lot we can’t do without (Fulton). He’s our best player. I’m just disappointed we didn’t have that instinct to finish the game.”
Rummel gave a signal of things to come on its first drive of the night, moving 80 yards on nine plays in 4:06. Fulton had 29 rushing yards on the drive and carried the final 6 yards to open the scoring.
Linebacker Michael Mosley made a big play to set up Rummel’s second touchdown when he sacked quarterback Brandt Fritschie and recovered the fumble at the Dutchtown 23. Phipps scored on a 3-yard run, and Justin Mourain kicked his second PAT for a 14-0 Rummel lead.
The fumble bug affected both teams as Dutchtown linebacker Marshall Richard recovered a faulty exchange between Fourcade and Fulton to thwart a third Rummel drive.
The Griffins returned the favor by giving up a fumble on the Rummel 33 after they had driven to the 24 on their best drive of the half.
By game’s end, Dutchtown had lost four of five fumbles and Rummel one of two.
“I’ve never won a game losing four fumbles, and I hope I never do again,” Saia said. “If we can ever stop doing that, I think we can be a pretty good offensive football team.”
Fritsche and receiver Corey McBride started the Dutchtown comeback when they connected on a 79-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Fritsche scored a touchdown of his own with 14 seconds left in the game to force the first overtime.
“What happened was that we really wanted it,” Coleman said. “After we came back from 0 to 21, we’d come too far to lose it.
“It was the whole team that did it.”