Wilton rally stuns Cobras

Carson Crawford dashes away down the field for a score, all the while quieting the Wilton crowd early in the game.

Often times football games are a tale of two halves. That was the case for the Cobras when they traveled to play Wilton on October 20, with the winner getting an automatic playoff bid.

It seemed like it could be a long night for the Cobra faithful after Wilton moved the ball down the field methodically for an early score. Sigourney responded with a score of their own during their first drive of the game. Carson Crawford punched in a one-yard score to cap off the long drive, with the Cobras taking a two-point lead after a successful two-point conversion. The SK defense fed off the energy provided by the offense, continually stopping Wilton.

Crawford found the end zone a second time late in the first quarter, this time with a 53-yard dash past the Wilton secondary. From there, any momentum Wilton had to begin the game was gone. With the Wilton crowd being held silent, it turned into more of a neutral-field game. Luke Greiner capped off the half with a run of his own, finding a gap in the defensive line for a 15-yard score. A failed two-point conversion still resulted in a 22-6 halftime lead for the Cobras.

"I think they came in a little overconfident," Cobras coach Jared Jensen said. "We caught them off guard and shocked them a little bit."

SK came into the second half with determination and the playoffs in their mind. One more half, that was the emphasis made by the coaching staff. The Cobras received the ball first to open up the third quarter, but failed to find any rhythm. Meanwhile, Wilton was able to find the end zone, waking up their fans and the sideline.

The Cobras continued to struggle on offense, leaning heavily on their running game which wasn't finding nearly as much success. Soon after the Cobras punted for the second time in as many drives, Wilton was able to put up another score. With about six minutes remaining in the game, SK still retained a four-point lead.

From that point the goal was to run out the clock, and keep the lead. A long scoring run of 41-yards from Greiner with another two points coming from Crawford pushed the lead to 12 with just under five minutes remaining. Wilton turned to their playmaking quarterback, to give them any hope of making the playoffs. He delivered in a big way, matching Greiner's run with a 43-yard scramble of his own. A two-point conversion brought the lead down to four, with just under four minutes to go.

"The second half Wilton settled down and began to contain our run game better," Jensen said. "They did something different that we hadn't seen this season when their tacklers bear-crawled after our guards."

After a kickoff out of bounds, the Cobras started their drive at the 35-yard line. They did find some success by mixing up the run and pass, but some crucial penalties halted their production. A failed attempt on fourth down led to a turnover on downs. Wilton took advantage of a softer defensive coverage by the Cobras, and began to chip away down the field. Wilton put a dagger in the heart of the Cobras with a last second score, to win 34-30.

"Their quarterback was hard to tackle, we were there but it was tough," Jensen said. "Us tackling him is like a lot of other teams trying to tackle our quarterback."

Crawford ended the game with 165 yards on 33 carries and two scores. Greiner also ran for 141 yards on 20 carries and had two scores in the loss. On defense, the Cobras were led by Zech Boender with 8.5 tackles, seven solo and one sack. Greiner and Crawford combined for 13.5 tackles, 10 solo and three sacks.

"The seniors left it all on the field, there was no turning back," Jensen said. "They've been our rock the last four years and have been the leaders on the field."

With the loss, SK relied on a wild card bid to get into the playoffs. Early the next morning it was announced that the Cobras would be matching up with undefeated Pella Christian on October 27.