YORKVILLE – Coaches will always tell you that it takes all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — win a football game.
While Ottawa and Yorkville struggled offensively throughout the night, fans got a lot of good defense from both sides, but the Foxes special teams was just a touch — or rather a point — better than the Pirates Saturday night for a 17-16 overtime victory to kick off the 2013 season a night after severe storms delayed the two teams.
Early in the opening quarter, Ottawa's Cody Stokes picked off Yorkville quarterback Nathan Scott, but the offense sputtered and Tristan Cunha kicked a 36-yard field goal for a 3-0 Pirate lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Malcolm Levi hopped over a defender and went 84 yards untouched for a 7-3 lead.
From there it was a whole lot of defense as both teams barely scraped together 50 yards of offense each at halftime.
Cahill Horner was a force defensively in the opening half for Ottawa with three drive-ending sacks for the Pirates.
Yorkville was just as stingy on defense as the scored stayed 7-3.
"Some of these kids played in a different offense last year," Ottawa coach Trent Swords said. "Last year we could make up for an off play and come back with a big 60-yard play. This team is different. This is an 8-, 10- or 12-yard at a time team with the run game, but we just can't shoot ourselves in the foot like we did at times tonight."
Some of the mistakes included penalties such as jumping offsides on fourth-and-1 as well as dropped passes.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Foxes Caleb Piszczek hit a 35-yard field goal to give Yorkville a 10-7 lead.
Late in the fourth quarter, Ottawa started to move the ball downfield.
Pirates quarterback Carter Krause connected with Stokes for a 15-yard completion and then threw a 14-yarder to Chase Hill before Trent Porter broke three tackles for a 12- yard run.
But on fourth-and-1 from the Foxes’ 12-yard line, Yorkville stuffed the Pirates run game once again and took over possession.
Cyrano Rayfield was solid on defense in the second half as two plays later he forced a fumble and recovered it.
On the ensuring drive, Krause scrambled on a fourth-and-1 play from the 5 before finding Hill in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
After the Cunha kick tied the game, it was the Pirates defense coming up big as Robert "Jake" Less intercepted a Yorkville pass to help send the game into overtime.
On the second play from scrimmage in OT, the Foxes’ Mike Kurtz scored on a halfback draw from 10 yards out.
The extra point put Yorkville up 17-10.
"The defense for the most part played well tonight," Swords said. "Unfortunately, the bad taste left in my mouth was the last time we were on the field, they let Yorkville run right up the middle for the score."
The Pirates then took over from the 10-yard line, and on the very first play, Weston Hoffman busted right up the middle for a touchdown.
But the snap appeared to be a little low and Porter bobbled the ball.
The bobble appeared to cause Cunha to stutter step and the kick sailed wide right and ended the game with the Foxes getting the 17-16 victory.
"We knew their defense was going to be good," Yorkville coach Karl Hoinkes said. "That 55 (Rayfield) can play. Actually, they have a few really good kids. It just came down to we had a good snap on the extra point and Ottawa didn't. That's it. Tremendous for our kids. We have 17 underclassman playing so this is a big win against a good team."
Horner led the Pirates with 34 yards rushing on 10 carries, while Carter was 5-for-17 for 54 yards passing and a touchdown.
Ottawa held Yorkville to 70 yards of total offense while the Pirates totaled 176 for the game.
Brad Martin Sr. can be reached at 220-6939, or firstname.lastname@example.org .