HURON – With both teams needing a win to ensure a playoff berth, a typical rivalry game between the Mitchell Kernels and Huron Tigers had an extra bit of meaning on Thursday, so it was fitting that it took until overtime for the game to be decided on the very last play of the game when a failed 2-point conversion by the Tigers gave Mitchell a 21-20 victory.
The first half was almost exclusively played on the Tigers end of the field. After a Huron 3-and-out to open the game, the Kernels drove the ball down the field meticulously mixing in power running from Josh Grosdidier with a few long runs on the outside from other in the offense to work the ball to the Tigers’ 8 yard line before penalties led to a turnover on downs by the Kernels.
The Kernels got the ball back after another Huron 3-and-out, starting on the Tigers’ 39. A couple hard runs from Grosdidier and a Tigers encroachment penalty got Mitchell to the 14 yard line where Grosdidier took the handoff and went virtually untouched off left tackle for a touchdown. Joe Haddon added the extra point kick for a 7-0 Kernel lead.
The rest of the first half saw Mitchell continue to move the ball with strong runs from Grosdidier and a few big plays along the way, but each time they got close, either penalties or a stiffening Tigers defense would force the Kernels backward and keep points off the board, but the Tigers offense was unable to do anything to capitalize.
The Kernels put the opening kickoff of the second half on the carpet, and the Tigers recovered, working their way toward the goal line. However, Jayden Beck was tossed backward for five yards and the Tigers were unable to convert on fourth and goal, turning the ball over on downs.
The Kernels began a very strong drive down the field on the back of Grosdidier along with a couple runs from quarterback Treyson Shulz. However, Schulz dropped back to pass and instead found Beck of the Tigers. Beck returned the ball all the way to the Kernels’ 12 yard line.
The Tigers used a Moses Gross run to get inside the 10 and finally Beck was able to punch the ball across the end line for Huron’s first points of the contest. Nick Kleinsasser’s point after kick was no good, leaving the Tigers behind 7-6.
Mitchell again leaned on the legs of Grosdidier, driving into Tiger territory before penalties and a pair of missed passes led to a pooch punt by the Kernels that bounced into the end zone.
The Tigers then mounted the best drive of the game behind a pair of tremendous catches by senior receiver Max Kranzler, adjusting on both catches to enable the play to be made. The Tigers mixed in a pair of runs, but couldn’t get enough to keep the drive moving and attempted a 44-yard field goal with Kleinsasser that fell well short.
The Kernels worked to keep the ball in bounds on the ensuing drive, handing the ball to Grosdidier, who gained 53 yards on the first three carries of the drive before eventually pushing the ball across the goal line from 11 yards out.
Huron pulled out the bag of tricks in their possession as Cade McNeil connected with Kranzler who then completed the hook and ladder to Jayden Beck for a long touchdown. McNeil completed a 2-point conversion pass to Beck to tie the game at 14.
Mitchell got the ball first in overtime, and on his 39th carry of the game, Grosdidier carried the ball across the goal. Haddon’s point-after kick gave the Kernels a 21-14 lead.
Jayden Beck nearly scored on the first play from the 10 yard line, falling just short on the one. He punched it in a play later. The Tigers took a timeout to plan the final play of the game. Beck turned the corner on the 2-point conversion run, but he was marked just short of the goal, giving the Kernels the victory and dropping the Tigers to 2-7 on the year.
The Kernels move to 3-6 behind the running of senior running back Grosdidier who carried the ball 39 times for 248 yards and three touchdowns.
Jayden Beck gave the Tigers all he could in his final home game, scoring three touchdowns and catching a two-point conversion pass. He ran for 83 yards and also had 10 tackles, a sack, and an interception defensively.
Mitchell 7 0 0 7 7 — 21
Huron 0 0 6 8 6 — 20
3:52 - M - Josh Grosdidier, 14-yard TD run. (Joe Haddon PAT kick good.)
3:58 - H - Jayden Beck, 4-yard TD run. (Nick Kleinsasser PAT kick fails.)
2:14 - M - Grosdidier, 11-yard TD run. (Haddon PAT good.)
1:29 - H - Cade McNeil pass to Max Kranzler, 49-yard TD run by Beck. (McNeil 2-pt pass to Beck is good.)
M - Grosdidier, 4-yard TD run. (Haddon PAT good.)
H - Beck, 1-yard TD run. (2-pt conversion run failed.)