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Orrick quarterback Clayton Jones completed only two passes Friday night – both to Aaron Blyth – but they were two very key completions. Both allowed the No. 1-ranked Bearcats to survive a huge challenge from I-70 Conference rival Concordia and extend the Orrick winning streak to 35 games.
Orrick’s 36-30 win over the Orioles came when Jones hit Blyth with a 45-yard scoring strike with just 22 seconds left on the clock, a mere 14 seconds after Concordia tied the game. However, the extra point kick following Zach Wolski’s 9-yard run failed.
“When he missed, I believe our kids knew that we were going to win the ball game,” Orrick Coach Pat Richard said. “I’m not sure they didn’t believe anyway.”
Cameron McGlothlin fielded the ensuing squib kick for Orrick and returned the ball to the Orioles’ 45-yard line setting the stage for a play the Bearcats hadn’t used lately.
“We hadn’t run that pass play in practice in over two or three weeks,” Richard said. “For them to execute it like that was really a tribute to how smart of kids we have.”
Jones found Blyth open and got him the ball. The rest was up to the 5-7, 172-pound senior who shook off a hit from a Concordia defender and then tight-roped down the sideline and into the end zone for the game winner.
The earlier Jones-to-Blyth combination came with the Bearcats trailing 24-22 with 3:40 left in the game. The 15-yard scoring strike came on fourth and 13 to get the lead back for Orrick 30-24 after Logan Eubank ran the conversion.
However, on the next Oriole possession, Concordia drove 62 yards in 11 plays while chewing up over 3 minutes with Wolski knotting the game at 30-30, but the game was far from over.
“It was a very intense game I thought both teams played really physical,” Richard said. “They did a good job of staying with their game plan of pounding the ball at us on offense. It was one of the best jobs of running the ball against us in a long time.”
Concordia piled up 375 rushing yards on the Bearcats while picking up 23 first downs. Oriole quarterback Kent Schuette picked up 135 yards on 14 attempts and a pair of touchdowns. Schuette and Eubank traded touchdown runs early in the contest with the visitors drawing first blood on a 2-yard run. Eubank, who ended the night with 231 yards on 22 rushes, scored on a 31-yard run, followed by Schuette scoring on an 18 yarder.
All three PATs failed with Concordia on top 12-6 with 4:10 left in the first half.
Eubank countered with a 36-yard burst, and Kalija Rogers gave Orrick its first lead of the night with the 2-point conversion run. Then it was time to trade touchdowns before intermission.
Schuette hooked up with Luke Kapala for a 56-yard touchdown pass with 1:30 left in the half on the next possession, followed by Eubank’s third touchdown of the night, a 45-yard run, 10 seconds later for a 22-18 Bearcat lead. Kapala’s 4-yard run for Concordia was the only scoring in the third quarter as the Orioles took a 24-22 advantage into the final 12 minutes.
PHOTO: Orrick’s Aaron Blyth (23) catches a pass in the final minute of the fourth quarter, and runs it in for a touchdown. Blyth had two touchdown receptions in the Bearcats’ win over Concordia, 36-30. (Photos by JoEllen Black/The Daily News)