The McDonell football team hurried to the line, without a full plan in place.
It was just looking for one more shot.
That one more chance came through as Grant Smiskey found Ben Biskupski for a two-yard touchdown pass with no time left on the clock to lift the Macks to a 32-28 eight-man win over Greenwood on Saturday afternoon at Dorais Field.
The Macks (2-0) drove 74 yards in the final two minutes and 59 seconds of the game, using every second to secure the walk-off win as the freshman quarterback Smiskey found his slot receiver Biskupski, who stretched to made the catch in the end zone.
“It was just thrown together," the junior wide receiver Biskupski said. "I think there was 10 seconds running down, we just had to get up to the line and try to get open as best we could."
A 23-yard pitch and catch between freshmen Smiskey and David Andersen two plays earlier put McDonell on the doorstep at the two-yard line. Smiskey completed a short pass on the next play, but short of the goal line so the Macks had to hurry to the line of scrimmage for one more play and snapped the ball with a few seconds left before Smiskey found Biskupski for the winner.
“We were all confident that everybody’s going to do their job on the last drive and (it) turned out great," junior wide receiver Dale Tetrault said of the last drive.
“It was a long drive, we just had to keep grinding to get down the field and it came down to the last second," Biskupski added.
The offense had a chance to win the game because the McDonell defense forced a turnover to get the ball back, forcing and recovering a fumble just inside three minutes left.
Overall the Macks defense forced four fumbles and recovered three as the Indians ran for 272 yards.
“I’m really proud of the defense. It was sort of a bend but don’t break at times," McDonell coach Jason Cox said. "They gave up some yards but they made plays when they needed to. We stress winning the turnover battle all the time. The team that wins the turnover battle is going to win the game almost all the time and we won the turnover battle there and we got one when we needed it. Guys were just very aggressive finding the ball on D and getting it for us.”
Greenwood (0-1) took a 20-12 lead with 5:32 left in the third on a 23-yard touchdown run from Xander Hinker, his third scoring run of the game as he finished with 214 rushing yards on 30 carries. The Macks tied the game on their next possession on Xayvion Matthews' one-yard run. Rogan Travis snuck through the middle of the McDonell defense to haul in a 32-yard touchdown pass from Christian Thomas as the Indians retook the lead at 30-22 with 10:36 to go. McDonell cut the gap to two with 7:03 left when two receptions of 31 and 28 yards from Tetrault set up the Macks at the two-yard line where Tetrault ran in for a score. The Indians turned back McDonell's two-point conversion try to maintain in a two-point lead and ran off more than four minutes of the clock and moved into Macks territory before the fumble.
McDonell started the game with a bang as the receiver Tetrault lined up at quarterback on the opening play and took a sweep 62 yards for a score to stake the Macks to a nearly immediate 6-0 lead. The score stayed that way until Hinker's first rushing score of the game at the 6:12 mark of the second quarter from five yards out. But the tie was short lived as the Macks struck again early on their next possession with Smiskey finding Tetrault for a 51-yard scoring connection.
Greenwood moved into McDonell territory late in the second quarter but back-to-back sacks from Matthews and Cory Suckerman ended the half. Greenwood tied the game on its first drive of the third quarter as Hinker powered in from 10 yards out.
Tetrault caught a game-high 10 passes for 158 yards while adding 68 rushing yards to lead the Macks in both categories. Biskupski had nine catches for 97 yards including the game-winning touchdown. Smiskey completed 23 of 30 pass attempts for 283 yards and two touchdowns.
“We had a freshman out there but we had all the confidence in the world in Grant Smiskey," Cox said. "He doesn’t play like a freshman. We didn’t think he would. He came out here and proved that he can play at the varsity level, which is fantastic.”
McDonell is back in action on Friday at Port Edwards before opening Central Wisconsin West Conference play on Saturday, Sept. 18 against Bruce in another matinee contest.