Jacks win slugfest
The Quincy High School football team must have fed off the energy of the large homecoming crowd at last Friday night’s game.
The adrenaline pumping through every player and coach after a 43-yard touchdown pass from junior Kaeden Murphy to junior Travis Harris gave head coach Stephen Wallace the confidence to go for the win. The touchdown pulled Quincy within one point of Othello at 14-13 deficit with just 75 seconds remaining in the game. Wallace called a two-point conversion and put the ball in the hands of his bulldozing 195-pound fullback Ulysses Ramirez. It was an easy decision for Wallace, who knew Ramirez had gobbled up yards all night. He rushed for 111 yards and had 91 yards after contact.
“Othello put eight and nine guys in the box so often there was one or more guys that Ulysses had to beat,” said Wallace. “Those tough yards by Ulysses forced them to put most of their focus on him which freed up Harris, Zac Hunt and Kaeden on the edge for some big runs and made our play action passes so effective.”
The senior took the handoff and was immediately hit behind the line of scrimmage, but made a heroic 2-point conversion after avoiding the tackle and dragging the Othello player toward the goal line. He finally made one last lunge at the end zone for the conversion and a 15-14 Quincy lead.
“He’s just a beast,” said Harris. “We are just playing with more confidence.”
The final drive was set up by the Jacks defense. They stood their ground, forced an Othello punt and took over possession on their own 27-yard line with two minutes, 47 seconds on the game clock Ramirez carried the ball two times just three yards and Murphy took a quarterback keeper 15 yards. One more handoff to Ramirez set up Quincy at the Othello 43-yard line after he rumbled for 12 yards.
The next play was the Murphy to Harris connection. It was a simple pitch and catch after Harris found a seam down the middle for the 43-yard touchdown.
“We just shocked them,” he said. “We shocked ourselves.”
It was the second long touchdown pass of the night from a team that pounded out 221 yards on the ground. Murphy went 4-of-11 for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns and an interception. His first touchdown toss of the game was set up by the outside blocking of Tanner Wallace. The junior wide out had pushed around the defender several times, so he backed off. This let Wallace get to the sideline and run down the pass from Murphy for a 26-yard score.
“If you’re a good blocker it sets up big plays,” coach Wallace said. “Tanner is a good blocker.”
Othello also brought a strong ground game behind running back Reese Jones. He had 44 carries for 227 yards and a touchdown. Othello had 321 total yards and got in the red zone multiple times, but came away with just 14 points.
“All we do is give them a few yards,” said senior safety Gunnar Petersen.
He watched teammates like Austin Vander Veen (24 tackles), Alberto Tafoya (14 tackles), Rey Rubio (14 tackles), Andy Reynolds (14 tackles), Diego Hernandez (7 tackles) and Kyle Mills (7 tackles) shut down the Huskies in the second half.
“We bend but don’t break,” Petersen said.
He also said the key to the Jacks defense was on the first possession of the game. Othello handed the ball off to Jones and they marched down the field and got inside the Jacks 5-yard line. But inside linebacker Tafoya and defensive end Hernandez combined to force and recover the fumble.
“Beatle really crushed him,” Petersen said.