Wildcats oh-so-close

Jamie Theesfeld

There’s an old sports adage that goes something like this, “It’s a game of inches.”

That was the case  for the Galva/Williamsfield football team in a game played in a driving rain Friday night at Abingdon.

Trailing the Commandos 13-7 with about 2:30 remaining in the game, the Wildcats ? after an Abingdon punt ? took over on the hosts' 25-yard line.

The Wildcats drove the length of the field, moving to the Abingdon one, where they had a first-and-goal.

However, the Wildcats weren’t able to punch it in from there, getting to just outside the goal line as time expired and falling by the final six-point margin.

“You’d be amazed just how short it was,” said Galva-Williamsfield coach Jeff Schmulbach of the distance between the ball and the goal line and the possibility of winning the game or forcing overtime. “It couldn’t have been more than six inches.”

The loss dropped the Wildcats to 0-3 overall while Abingdon won for the first time in three games.

“This probably was the hardest loss to take since I’ve been here,” said the fourth-year Wildcats’ coach. “The kids took it very hard. To get that close . . . it’s a heartbreaker.”

The Wildcats battled back from a 13-0 deficit to get back into the game in the fourth quarter.

Abingdon took a 7-0 lead at the 11:14 mark of the second quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run by Andy Brackett and the ensuing PAT kick.

Another 3-yard TD run, this one by Dylan Timmons, gave the Commandos the 13-point lead with 8:14 remaining.

The Wildcats were able to answer and cut the deficit to six on Spencer Clark’s 19-yard TD pass to Nolan Peterson and the PAT kick.

G-W then stopped Abingdon, forcing the hosts to punt on their following possession and give the Wildcats one more opportunity to score.

“The kids just kind of lost their focus there at the end,” Schmulbach said. “But we were hurrying around at the end.

“Give Abingdon credit, though,” he added. “They did a great job in stopping us on four plays at the goal.”

Abingdon held the edge in total yardage, 201-145.

“The weather helped Abingdon,” said Schmulbach. “They run that wish-bone offense and were able to pound it up the middle.”

The Commandos attempted only six passes, compared to the Wildcats’ 21.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our kids,” Schmulbach said. “To come back from 13-0 down is very commendable. We told the kids before the game, if we wanted to win, we had to play four quarters, and we did.”

The Wildcats host Peoria Heights on Friday night.