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Hall running back Aaron Kerr (No. 42) tries to break loose from the grip of Erie-Prophetstown’s Chris Bauer during the Red Devils’ 22-21 victory Friday in Spring Valley. NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
After being shut out for three quarters, the Hall football team registered 22 unanswered fourth-quarter points to complete a thrilling 22-21 Three Rivers Conference crossover win over Erie-Prophetstown on Friday night at Nesti Stadium.
“We told them that’s why we condition. That’s why we do what we do to get ready each week — for the fourth quarter. It’s living proof of that right here tonight,” said Hall coach Randy Tieman, whose squad improved to 1-1. “I’m elated. I’m so happy for the kids. We don’t have to wait like last year until Week 8 to get a win. This is a good football team, and they’re going to keep getting better.”
The finishing touches of the Red Devil revival came with just 1:32 left on the clock when sophomore Chris Hammonds took a fourth-down pitch after a fake up the middle and scrambled 17 yards down the right side to paydirt to complete a 61-yard drive and pull Hall within one.
“The game was on me, but it wasn’t all about me. My blockers helped me, and when I find that hole, I’m getting in,” Hammonds said. “But we’ve got to work as a team, without the team I don’t do anything.”
Senior fullback Aaron Kerr, who led Hall with 76 yards on 11 carries despite spraining his ankle in the first half, said he was nervous coming up to the line for what would prove to be the winning two-point conversion attempt.
“I was scared. I just knew I needed the (conversion),” said Kerr, who added that hearing the hometown roar after running in the go-ahead score was “indescribable.” “It’s the best feeling in the world to hear the fans cheering for you, I can’t describe it,” Kerr said.
Erie-Prophetstown went up 14-0 in the first half and appeared as if it could have done more damage if it weren’t for losing three fumbles.
The Panthers broke the ice on a 76-yard run from sophomore Jordan Chandler with 7:16 left in the first quarter, and added to their lead with an 8-yard touchdown run from Dylan Binion early in the second stanza.
After a scoreless third quarter, Hall finally got on the board with a 1-yard punch in from Kerr — set up by a strong 24-yard Tyler Taber run — to pull within 14-6 after the missed extra point with 10:32 left in the game.
E-P responded with a 53-yard first-down run from Howard on the next series to set up its first touchdown after intermission — a 1-yard run from Binion.
The 2 minute, 39 second drive pushed the Panther lead to 21-6 with 7:46 to play.
Taber helped the Red Devils pull within a single score with a 10-yard touchdown run as Hall took advantage of a short field set up by a 65-yard kickoff return from Hammonds.
Kerr added the two-point plunge to bring the game within seven at 21-14 with 6:26 to play.
Tieman said the win could have a big impact on the Red Devils’ season.
“We talked about it this week. We talked about not going 0-2. We knew we were going to have to slug it out with these guys. We got down and kept fighting in the second half,” Tieman said.
While Kerr led Hall’s rushing, junior Jacob Byczynski was hot on his heels with 69 yards on 13 carries and one reception for 13 yards. All told, Hall ran for 241 yards on 45 carrries.
Hall quarterback Taggart Venegas was 5-for-16 for 69 yards. Zach Urbanski led the Hall receiving corps with three grabs for 48 yards, including a falling 25-yard catch on a third-and-10 on Hall’s go-ahead drive.
Howard led E-P with 102 yards on 13 carries. The Panthers rushed for 310 yards on 38 carries, but did not complete a pass in the contest.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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