TERRE HAUTE — In a defensive struggle that literally went down to the last second, West Vigo survived an exciting and intense ending to defeat North Daviess, 7-6. The final opportunity for the Cougars went wide left as a surprise 28-yard field goal attempt on fourth down for the win had the distance but not the direction.
Both defenses were nearly shutdown all night long, forcing turnovers and wreaking havoc, while the passing games that both WV and ND have thrived on in the first four contests of the season were basically negated.
West Vigo managed its only score with under a minute to play in the opening period after picking off the second of three Tanner Reed passes. The Vikings returned the errant pass all the way to the three yard line. On second and goal, senior signal caller Dane Andrews found DeShaun Lowe for the host’s only score of the evening. The PAT kick, seemingly routine at the time, turned out to be the difference on the scoreboard as West Vigo maintained the 7-0 lead until midway through the fourth stanza.
North Daviess found immediate life with 7:06 showing in the game as junior quarterback Tanner Reed pegged senior DJ Owens in the flat, and he was off to the races for an 84-yard catch and ensuing gallop to the end zone. In the process, Reed was injured and carted off on a stretcher though he had movement and seemed cognizant while the school’s athletic trainer, Kelsey LePore, attended to him during the waiting period.
After a nearly 12 minute delay in play, ND still had a two-point conversion opportunity to take the lead. Austin Webster lined up behind center and handed off to Owens who was heading over the right tackle. Owens, however, was looking to throw a pass before being chased down to the ground unable to get off the go-ahead attempt.
The Cougar defense continued to dominate, and freshman Austin Webster along with junior bruiser Alex Steffey chased Andrews down for consecutive big-play losses. Following a short WV punt, senior second stringer Jack Townsend replaced Reed, and the back-up connected on a couple of passes while mixing in a few runs before being stopped on a fourth down and short pass play.
With under two minutes to play, North Daviess stopped the Vikes on three consecutive running plays. At 31 ticks, facing a fourth and three and in punting formation, West Vigo’s long snapper sent the ball sailing over the kicker’s head and into the end zone. Junior Daryn Lengacher nearly registered the safety before the WV player managed to get the pigskin back to the 11 yard line.
Townsend had 30 seconds to play with and just over 30 feet to find, but jump-ball passes to Jalen Knepp and Kirk Wagler were knocked down. Knepp caught the third loft but was ruled out of bounds in the back end zone. With a fourth down situation, ND took a time-out and then sent senior placekicker Ted Lamson on to the field to attempt the winning three-pointer that missed the uprights left.
North Daviess actually caught another pass earlier in the game for a potential six points when Kirk Wagler snagged one from Reed in the second frame. Wagler, though, was whistled for an unusual offensive pass interference penalty. That was followed by two more costly ND mistakes as the visitors were not able to muster quite enough offense to find their way to 5-0.
Now 4-1, North Daviess heads to Linton-Stockton for their annual Homecoming affair. West Vigo also sits at 4-1. Kickoff in Linton is set for 7 p.m.