The Switzerland County Pacers traveled to South Decatur to meet the Cougars on their home field. The Cougars took advantage early on after stopping the Pacers on their first drive. A few missed defensive assignments by Switzerland County did not help and South Decatur put the first score on the board at the 6:20 mark in the first quarter. The PAT was no good and the score remained 6-0.
Both defenses stood strong and the teams traded punts over the next ten minutes until South Decatur was able to successfully kick a field goal, with 5:27 in the second quarter, to up their lead to 9-0. A forced fumble and recovery by the Pacers put the ball at midfield with under 2 minutes left in the half. Two plays later Damion Courter hit Kyle Whitham on a 49 yard touchdown pass for the first Pacer points of the night. The two-point conversion run by Trystan Kielbasa was good and brought the teams to a halftime score of 9-8.
The Pacers defense tightened up in the second half and forced a fumble on the opening possession, but penalties moved the Pacers out of scoring range, and they were forced to punt. The Cougars were then stopped on three straight downs by the interior line of Switzerland County before Isaac Slover blocked the ensuing punt, giving the Pacers new life. Penalties caused the offense to be unable to capitalize once more and Switz turned the ball over on downs. The Pacers were flagged for a
total of 95 yards on the night.
South Decatur extended the lead to 7 when the Cougars were able to haul in a 34-yard TD reception with 4:27 left in the fourth quarter. However, the Pacers again refused to go down without a fight and flipped field position quickly when Courter hooked up with Cameron Niswander for a 52-yard reception. Tough running by Kielbasa paid off when he found the end zone with under a minute left in the game to bring the Pacers to within one point. After a timeout, Kielbasa’s two-point conversion run was denied by the Cougars and they escaped with a one point victory, 15 – 14.
Head Coach, Ryan Jesop had this to say about the game: “Trystan Kielbasa was a beast tonight and our defense held strong for most of the game. However, our inexperience at key positions on both offense and defense, was exposed through penalties and missed assignments. I am very proud of how hard our kids played and gave themselves a chance to win, against a team that has blown them out the past three seasons, but our focus at practice must get better if we want to beat the remaining conference opponents.”
Kielbasa ran for 102 yards on 12 attempts and had 18 solo tackles on the defensive side of the ball. Kyle Whitham had 2 receptions for 66 yards with one TD. Cameron Niswander had 1 reception for 52 yards and 33 rushing yards on 4 attempts.
The Pacers are now 3 -3 on the season and will be in action Friday night, October 6th at North Decatur.