By Jeff Kessinger (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Glendale trailed Kickapoo 17-6 midway through the third quarter Friday night. That didn’t worry Jack Clinkenbeard. At all. The senior wideout already knew what was about to happen.
Clinkenbeard and the Falcons stormed back from a 17-0 deficit to stun Kickapoo 20-17 at Lowe Stadium, making it a happy homecoming night for the red and blue.
“As soon as we got that first touchdown, you could just feel the vibe,” Clinkenbeard said. “Everyone was ready to go.”
He wasn’t the only Falcon vibing.
“Once we get a little bit of momentum, I feel like it’s game over,” junior linebacker Cooper Roy said. “The momentum helps us get more confident and it escalates from there.”
Glendale coach Mike Mauk may not have shared that optimism with his players, but he had a good feeling about what his team is capable of.
“We were playing against a very well-coached team that plays extremely hard, but our guys kept fighting,” Mauk said. “I work with these kids every day, so I know their attitudes and their work habits. When you’re playing against a team that’s well prepared and playing hard, you’ve got to continue to fight and do the things you believe in. Fortunately, we were able to keep our poise, make a few plays and the ball bounced our way a little bit. It was a great high-school football game, one we feel very fortunate to have won.”
Kickapoo (3-3 overall, 3-2 Ozark Conference) was in cruise control just two minutes into the third quarter. The guests had just gotten an 83-yard kickoff return by Samias Pickett to set up a 1-yard touchdown sneak by quarterback Adam Miller for that 17-0 lead. But that turned out to be the beginning of the end.
Just four minutes later Glendale quarterback Cole Fuerbacher connected with Wyatt Andrews on a 29-yard touchdown strike. Andrews took a big pop from a pair of Kickapoo defenders — one of whom lost his helmet on the play — in the end zone, but managed to hang onto the ball.
Glendale’s defense seemed energized by the play. Eli Thomas intercepted a Kickapoo pass just four plays later to give the Falcons the ball near midfield. It took Glendale just two minutes to cash in, with Fuerbacher finding Marius Shaw down the right sideline for a 39-yard score to pull the Falcons within 17-14.
Kickapoo couldn’t move the sticks on its next possession and the Falcons capped the furious comeback with a 9-yard pass from Fuerbacher to Clinkenbeard with 9:24 to play.
KHS had one last shot, marching from its own 14 into Glendale territory, but back-to-back tackles in the backfield by Cooper Roy forced Kickapoo to try a long field goal. Nick Quadrini’s kick from 53 yards had plenty of leg, but sailed just left.
“This feels great,” Clinkenbeard said. “It shows that we’re a dominant team when we work together. We struggled in the first half, but we came together in the second half and said, ‘Let’s get this win.’”
Clinkenbeard finished with six carries for 45 yards and seven receptions for 42 yards and a score. Fuerbacher was 25-33 passing, for 241 yards and three scores. Andrews (72 yards) and Derek Horton (76 yards) also had big nights for the Falcons.
Glendale (4-3, 4-3) has now won five in a row against Kickapoo and leads the all-time series 27-25. The Falcons also celebrated an unofficial city championship, going 4-0 against Hillcrest, Kickapoo and Parkview. Glendale won’t play Central this year. The Bulldogs are no longer in the Ozark Conference.
“This means a lot,” Roy said. “I’ve only been here three years, so I want to make it six in a row next year. This win feels really good and I’m glad we pulled it out.”
Kickapoo put up 10 points in the first half, all in the opening quarter. Quadrini got his team on the board with a 29-yard field goal less than four minutes into the game.
Quarterback Adam Miller made it 10-0 with 19 seconds to play in the period. He capped a nine-play, 58-yard drive with a 5-yard bootleg around the right end.
Glendale struggled to get into gear, but managed to make a pair of forays into Kickapoo territory. But the Falcons were stopped on fourth down twice, including an interception by LeTrell King. The Kickapoo senior returned the ball to midfield, giving KHS a chance to expand its lead before the break.
Quadrini attempted a 49-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the half. It had plenty of leg, but pinged off the right upright and was no good.
Miller led the Kickapoo offense with 22 carries for 75 yards and a pair of scores. He was 2-for-5 passing, for 30 yards. Kevin Ward rushed 15 times for 59 yards.
“We were really shooting ourselves in the foot in the first half. We made our own mistakes,” Clinkenbeard said. “We played our own game in the second half, put some points in the board and the defense got some stops.”
Clinkenbeard said the team had a “good chat” with the coaching staff at halftime. That helped ensure everyone was on the same page for the second half.
“We made a few adjustments. When you’re playing against a good team you’ve got to keep your poise, you’ve got to keep your confidence,” Mauk said. “We had some guys out there for the first time at some positions, but we didn’t really flinch. We kept confidence in what we could do. I thought we were playing a little bit better on defense (at halftime) and we came out and did a really good job after the first touchdown they had in the third quarter.”
Kickapoo is scheduled to travel to Bolivar Oct. 16. Glendale, meanwhile, visits Camdenton.
KHS 10 0 7 0 — 17
GHS 0 0 14 6 — 20
8:02 — Kickapoo: Nick Quadrini 29 field goal, 3-0
:19.9 — Kickapoo: Adam Miller 5 run (Quadrini kick), 10-0
10:00 — Kickapoo: Miller 1 run (Quadrini kick), 17-0
6:02— Glendale: Wyatt Andrews 29 pass from Cole Fuerbacher (pass failed), 17-6
2:51 — Glendale: Marius Shaw 39 pass from Fuerbacher (Derek Horton run), 17-14
9:29 — Glendale: Jack Clinkenbeard 9 pass from Fuerbacher (kick failed), 20-17