It was the Tigers versus the Tigers on worsening field conditions on Oct. 6 in Dwight.
The Palmer Tigers edged the East Butler football team 6-0, scoring in the final moments of a game in which both teams struggled to gain traction, thanks to recent days of rain. The win put Palmer in the driver’s seat for the District D1-5 title. Palmer grabbed the No. 10 spot in the Journal Star rankings following the win.
“Our team focus was executing in the given conditions,” East Butler coach Shawn Biltoft said. “The defense played well throughout the game, but we were unable to take advantage on the offensive side of the ball. It was a strong effort by our players as we look forward to the remaining challenges. “
Palmer gained just enough field position to have a chance to win. East Butler struggled to get out of poor field position during the fourth quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter it looked like Palmyra would take the lead. Palmyra quarterback Spencer Wichman kept his team’s hopes alive with a scramble to inside the 10 yard line. The East Butler defense held and then blocked a field goal attempt.
After another 3-and-out by East Butler, Palmer got the ball for its final possession and a few flashes of lightning lit up the clouds. It appeared that the game might be headed for overtime when Wichmann hit Roy Guzman on the right side and Guzman outran East Butler defenders to the pylon with 19 seconds remaining.
The rain picked up as a Palmer receiver caught the conversion pass attempt but was tackled short of the goal line.
Before Palmer could kick off, however, East Butler Athletic Director Dave Struebing walked onto the field and announced a 30-minute delay in effect because of increased lightning activity.
About 45 minutes later, the officiating crew left the school where the teams took shelter. The game announcer stated: “Because of lightning, the game has been called.”
Palmer fans began honking their car horns and headed for home. If their Tigers can defeat Nebraska Lutheran (5-1) at Palmer on Friday, Palmer will own the District D1-5 crown outright. East Butler defeated the Knights 50-28 on Sept. 29.
Throughout the game, ball handling was affected by the rain and worsening field conditions, with East Butler losing an interception and two of its four fumbles. Kick return totals also showed the challenge with East Butler gaining 11 yards and Palmer 19. East Butler punted five times and Palmer punted seven times.
Both of East Butler’s losses this season were by six points with games decided in final moments. The Tigers go on the road to finish the regular season, first against High Plains (2-4) and then against Nebraska Christian (2-5).
October 5 in Dwight
EB 0 0 0 0 - 0
Palmer 0 0 0 0 – 0
Team Stats EB; P
Rushing 40-113; 42-67
Passing 11-22-104; 8-16-103
Total yards 217; 170.
Rushing: EB- Bohac 22-80; Stara 16-32. P-Wichmann 20-25.
Passing: EB – Bohac 11-22 104. Wichmann 7-15-100
Receiving: EB- Havlovic 7-85, Robley 3-15. P- R. Guzman 3-49, TD.
EB Tackles (solo-assists)
Rezac 15-2; Havlovic 10-4; Spatz 6-3; Janak 6-2; Bohac 6-3; Robley 5-3.