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McFarland football defeats Evansville in overtime

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Junior wide receiver Deven Kulp, 11, looks to run downfield against Edgewood after getting a block from senior running back Chase Quelle, 9. 

In a nail-biter, McFarland pulled out a 20-19 overtime victory over Evansville on Friday, Sept. 24.

“The kids played really hard, worked really well together and stayed positive,” said McFarland head coach Paul Ackley. “It was a game where some things go really well and some things don’t, so I felt they did some really nice things.”

Junior defensive back Kyle Kussow picked off a pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Then the Spartans went up 7-0 after junior kicker Mason Folk added the extra point with 4:18 left in the second quarter. Evansville tied the game with 1:36 left before the end of the second quarter when Evansville’s senior quarterback Chase Maves found junior wide receiver Grayden Geske for a 29-yard touchdown.

With six minutes left in the third quarter, McFarland took a 13-7 lead after junior quarterback Cooper Kennedy found Kussow for a 54-yard touchdown pass.

“Kyle wasn’t able to play last week because of an injury he suffered against East Troy, so he was out the Whitewater week and I’m just so proud of him for coming back,” said Ackley. “He’s just a hard-working kid, who loves to get in there and play.”

Evansville kept their hopes alive with 2:03 left in the fourth after Maves and Geske scored again, this time on a 32-yard pass, but a missed extra point forced the 19-19 game into overtime.

In overtime, each team got an offensive possession at the opposing team’s 25-yard line. McFarland got the ball first and scored a nine-yard touchdown run by junior wide receiver Dadon Gillen. An extra point by Folk put the Spartans up 20-13.

Evansville scored on its possession as senior running back Ricky Braunschweig scored on a five-yard run. Deciding not to test its fate in another overtime period on the road, Evansville went for the win on a two-point conversion, but Braunschweig was stuffed by the McFarland defense, giving McFarland the 20-19 win.

“We were lucky enough our defense really stepped up, and did a great job. I give a lot of credit to Coach Hellenbrand and the defensive staff for just being ready for that,” said Ackley.

Kennedy finished four of 18 for 74 yards with a touchdown. Junior wide receiver Deven Kulp had three catches for 20 yards.

McFarland (3-3, 3-1 conference games) moves into sole possession of third place in the Rock Valley Conference standings. The Spartans face Jefferson (3-2, 2-2) for homecoming on Friday, Oct. 1. McFarland needs one more win to qualify for the playoffs.

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