Shadle Park linebacker Tryson Town recovered a last-moment fumble and the Highlanders held off Lewiston’s football team 28-21 on Friday at Bengal Field.
Bengal running back Michael Bramlett fumbled the ball into the Highlanders’ end zone from the 1-yard line with 46 seconds left, and Town recovered it for a touchback that effectively sealed the outcome.
Highland knelt twice to end the game.
“He’s got a little bit of a shoulder injury, and I don’t know, it’s hard to say what happened (on that play),” Lewiston coach Matt Pancheri said.
Pancheri added Bramlett is scheduled to get shoulder surgery next week.
“We don’t know (if Bramlett’s done for the season),” Pancheri said. “But we knew it was coming.”
Lewiston entered the fourth quarter trailing by 21 points before quarterback Kash Lang scored two of his three touchdowns. The last of those came with 4:23 left on an 18-yard post pattern to Jesse Ady to pull Lewiston within a score.
“The game shouldn’t have been that close in the first place,” Shadle Park coach Jim Mace said. “We didn’t take care of our mental needs.”
Or the ball.
Shadle Park receiver Xavier Atkins finished with two touchdown receptions — and he seemed destined for another, when he was stripped on Lewiston’s goal line about a minute into the fourth quarter by defensive back Harrison Smith.
The Bengals recovered the ball at their own 1-yard line. Three plays later, they scored on a keeper by Lang from 18 yards out to pull within 28-14 with 9:57 left.
“(Harrison’s tackle was) a huge play,” Pancheri said. “You don’t give up on a football game.”
With 5:52 left, Lewiston got the ball back when defensive end Alec Eckert recovered a Shadle Park fumble — although the Bengals almost gave the ball right back to the Highlanders.
On the next play, Lang threw up a ball intended for Cruz Hepburn down the left sideline, where the Highlanders’ Atkins picked it off.
But the interception was negated by a Shadle Park unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Lewiston retained possession around midfield with about five-and-a-half minutes left.
Lang capped that possession with his second scoring pass of the game. One play before that, Bramlett was helped off the field with what appeared to be cramps.
The Bengals got the ball back for their final possession when defensive back Garrett Creviston intercepted Highlanders quarterback Ryan Schmidt with 2:42 left. Seven plays later, the Bengals were at the Highlanders’ 2-yard line, with just under a minute left.
“It’s just too bad,” Pancheri said of his team’s inability to punch the ball in at the end.
QB PICTURE BECOMING CLEARER — Lang accounted for all of his team’s scores and quarterbacked the entirety of the fourth quarter for the Bengals, after sharing those duties earlier in the game with Hepburn.
Did this performance secure Lang the starting job?
“As I understand it, Michael Bramlett’s going to have surgery on Thursday, and that moves Cruz to running back and Kash will become the quarterback,” Pancheri said.
NICE GRAB — Lewiston’s Jared Grainger scored on a 32-yard reception in the second quarter while surrounded by Shadle Park defensive backs.
“Kash Lang, he threw the ball really well and I think he grew up a ton,” Pancheri said. “Good on him. He’s the guy who helped rally us in the second half. I think he’s going to be a really good quarterback.”
THE PLAY THAT REALLY HURT LEWISTON — In the second quarter, the Bengals fumbled away a read-option between Lang and one of his running backs, and Shadle Park’s Mason Williams scooped the ball up and returned it 79 yards for a score.
“We’re just playing a lot of young guys and mistakes show when you do that, and that was us tonight,” Pancheri said. “We made too many mistakes to recover from.
“We need to play a better first half, we were absolutely making gigantic mistakes in the first half.”
Shadle Park 7 14 7 0—28
Lewiston 0 7 0 14—21
Shadle Park — Xavier Atkins 18 pass from Ryan Schmidt (Camden Harlow kick)
Shadle Park — Atkins 71 pass from Schmidt (Harlow kick)
Shadle Park —Mason Williams 79 fumble return (Harlow kick)
Lewiston —Jared Grainger 32 pass from Kash Lang (Harrison Smith kick)
Shadle Park — Schmidt 1 run (Harlow kick)
Lewiston — Lang 18 run (Smith kick)
Lewiston —Jesse Ady 18 pass from Lang (Smith kick)
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