Late TD pass lifts Ravenna past Montague in league thriller

Local Sports Journal

Ravenna coach David Smith will take an ugly win in nasty weather any day.

The Bulldogs showed grit and pulled out an 18-14 West Michigan Conference win on a nasty, rainy Friday night against the Montague Wildcats.

Montague led 8-6 at halftime, but Ravenna took care of business in the second half.

“You get in a game like this, raining, it’s miserable weather,” said Smith. “You can’t do what you want, it’s an even playing field. It’s a good win to come out with an ugly game like that.”

Trailing 14-12, Ravenna got the ball with 1:40 left on the clock at the Montague 39-yard line.

After working the clock, Ravenna had the ball on the Montague 12-yard line with 15 seconds left.

Quarterback Nick Castenholz then delivered a winning touchdown pass to Alex White to give the Bulldogs the 18-14 win in the final seconds.

“It’s a good win for our team. Anytime you start 3-0 is a good thing,” said Smith. “We got banged up and lost a couple big players for us on the line. That really hurt us a lot on the lines. The Montague kids played really hard. Their quarterback (Jacob Buchberger)  is a heck of a player, we were hitting him all night but he stepped in there.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Montague started off the scoring with a Buchberger 77-yard scamper for a touchdown. With a two-point conversion, the Wildcats were up 8-0.

Ravenna answered with a David Thompson 63-yard kickoff return to the Montague 15-yard line. On the ensuing drive, Justin Jones scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. However, the conversion failed and the Wildcats went into halftime leading 8-6.

Montague tried to catch the Bulldogs napping on the second-half kickoff with an onside attempt. Ravenna recovered and Jones later scored on a 35-yard touchdown run. Ravenna missed the conversion again and led 12-8.

At the 8:44 mark of the third quarter, Buchberger raced 19 yards for a TD to put the Wildcats ahead 14-12.

Jones had 25 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns to lead Ravenna offense while Tierstyn McBride led the Bulldog defense with 11 tackles, five of them for loss.

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