JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Two state-ranked teams in the Okaw Valley Conference on Friday and when the smoke cleared, only three points separated them. Undefeated 1A Central A&M came up three points short of Maroa, 39-36.
The first half was full of Maroa flags and missed A&M tackles, as Maroa took a 13-7 lead into half-time. Two A&M turnovers early in the 3rd quarter led to scores and put A&M behind the 8-ball.
A&M finally started to get some scores and make up ground, but Maroa kept moving the finish line forward as they matched the A&M scores. A&M was still down by ten late in the 4th quarter. They scored in the final minute to make it 3 -point game and tried an onsides kick. Maroa recovered it, game over.
Maroa had eight penalties in the 1st half, mitigating their effectiveness. Maroa had to punt on their first possession. A&M then drove to the Maroa 24 before turning the ball over on downs.
DeClerck then had a 7 yard sack on Maroa's QB Hockaday and aroa had another penalty and had to punt again. A&M got to Maroa's 43, but a 3rd down incomplete pass force an AA&M punt.
Missed tackles then hurt AA&M as Hockaday was caught by two players behind the line and broke both tackles for a 40 yard run. He broke two sack tackles to make it 4th and a 1/2 yard. They got the 1st down run.
In the first minute of the 2nd, the A&M end got sucked in on an option and Hockaday ran for a 19 yard TD.
Down 7-0, A&M got the ball, but their passing game was amiss. QB Curt Ramsey was just 9 of 27 for 93 yards in the game. Despite a 12 yard reverse by Snyder, they had to punt.
Hockaday broke another tackle and went 30 yards. A holding penalty against Maroa called it back. Maroa had 2nd and 28 and even though A&M missed three tackles on one play, Maroa was in two deep of a hole and had to punt again.
The punt was shanked and A&M got a short field at the Maroa 32. Ballinger caught a swing pass and went 12 yards, then ran for five yards. From the Maroa 15 Ramsey hit Snyder on a slant across the middle for a TD with 5:31 left in the half.
Ironically, Maroa was flagged on the play for an illegal substituion. Maroa is currently under a recruiting investigation for illegally "substituting" players from Mt. Zion to Maroa addresses so they can play for Maroa.
Ade made the PAT kick for a 7-7 tie.
Maroa got the ball. Maroa worked their way down the field to the CAM 30. After another penalty they had 1st and 15 with just 1:37 left in the half. A&M held them on the next play. They might have held them off until the half, but a late hit penalty on A&M gave Maroa the ball on A&M's 15.
Maroa passed to the 1 yard line with a minute left. Hockaday then scored on a QB sneak with 49.2 seconds left. Maroa missed the kick, but led 13-7 at the half.
A&M took the 2nd half kick-off but fumbled the ball away on the first play. From the A&M 36 a double reverse and two broken tackles too it to the 23. Hockaday then scored on an option in less than a minute of play. The 2-point try failed.
Trailing 19-7, A&M took the ensuing kick-off and Snyder picked up 16 yards. But on 3rd and 11 Maroa picked off a high pass at the Raider 40. Hockday eluded a sack and ran 22 yards. He scored on the next play from a yard out less than 3:00 after their previous score. The 2 point try was picked off.
Trailing 25-7, A&M had to punt on their next possession. They started the 2nd half with a fumble, an INT, and a punt.
Maroa had a bad snap and fell on it on their own 19. Facing 3rd and 29, Curt Ramsey intercepted a pass at the Maroa 39. They started again with a short field. Ballinger ran for 25 yards.
Snyder then went out for a pass, first to the sidelin then to the middle and Ramsey hit him for a 14 yard TD with 5:49 in the 3rd. They added a 2-point conversion to pull within 10 of Maroa, 25-15.
Garner had an 8 yard sack on Maroa's next possession. But on the next play, Hockday ran the option for 54 yards. Three plays later, Mikeworth carried tacklers over the goal line, 32-15 Maroa.
Ballinger answered with a 50 yard kick return. Ramsey ran for 32 yards to the Maroa 7. Snyder then scored on a 7 yard sweep. Ade kicked the extra point to make it a 10-point game again, 32-22 with 2:11 in the 3rd, the fifth score by the two teams in the period for 40 2rd-quarter points.
Maroa had a 3rd and on the ensuing possession, then an errant pitch was fumbled. Ade picked it up and ran to the Maroa 4 yard line. Maroa stopped the Raiders on four straight plays and took over on downs. That stand may have won the game for Maroa.
Maroa only got to the 27 before they had to punt. A&M got a short field again on their own 43 after the punt. Ramsey ran back and forth across the field for 39 yards to the Maroa 18. Ramsey ran again for 11 yards to the Maroa 6.
Ramsey rolled out and connected with Ballinger in the end zone for a 9-yd TD. The Ade kick was good and it was a 3-point game, 32-29 with 5:42 left in the game.
The A&M kickoff was muffed and Maroa had to start from their own 13. But, they drove anyway. On the first play of the possession, Hockaday ran for 22 yards on the option. He then ran for 16 yards on the option. After a 9-yard gain he fumbled the ball, but the refs said he was already down and Maroa kept the ball.
On 3rd and 2 from the 30, Hockday ran off tackle and was untouched all the way to the end zone. The PAT kick made it a 10-point game again, 39-29 with 2:49 to play in the game.
They were flagged again for unsportsmanlike conduct and had to kcik from their own 25. Again with a short field, A&M started from their own 46. They ran a trick play. Ramsey threw short and the receiver flipped it to Ryan Houser following for 11 yards to the Maroa 43.
Ramsey scramble back and forth across the field again for 16 yards to the Maroa 27. Three incompletions made it 4th and 10. A short pass to Hauser picked up the 1st down. Ramsey scrambled to the 4 yard line. He threw to the end zone incomplete. Despite contact, their was no interference call.
Ramsey was then sacked. with 35.8 seconds left. A&M had a motion penalty and they called their final time-out. Snyder then ran the ball in from 7 yards out. Ade kicked the PAT and it was 3 -point game with 29.4 seconds left, 39-36.
A&M kicked onsides, but Maroa recovered it and knelt to run out the clock and get the win.
A&M (8-1) finishes the regular season at Meridian next Friday and is heavily favored.
Maroa 39, Central A&M 36
2nd (11:12)-(M) Hockaday 19 yd run, kick good, 7-0
2nd (5:31)-(CAM) Ramsey to Snyder 16 yd pass, Ade kick, 7-7
2nd (:49)-(M) Hockaday 1 yd run, kick failed, 13-7
3rd (11:14)-(M) Hockaday 23 yd run, run failed, 19-7
3rd (8:53)- (M) Hockaday 3 yd run, pass failed, 25-7
3rd (5:49)-(CAM) Ramsey to Snyder 14 yd pass, Ballinger run, 25-15
3rd (3:33)-(M) Mikeworth 9 yd run, kick good, 32-15
3rd (2:11)-(CAM) Snyder 7 yd run, Ade kick, 32-22
4th (5:42)-(CAM) Ramsey to Ballinger 9 yd pass, Ade kick, 32-29
4th (2:49)-(M) Hockaday 30 yd run, kick good, 39-29
4th (:29)-(CAM) Snyder 8 yd run, Ade kick, 39-36
A&M stats: RUSHING-Ramsey 14 of 111; Snyder 10 for 42, TD; Ballinger 7 for 39; Hauser 1 for -2; PASSING-9 of 27, 93 yards, 1 INT; RECEIVING- Ballinger 4 for 36; Snyder 2 for 30; Hauser 1 for 15; Moma 1 for 6; TACKLES-Snyder 10 (4 solo, 6 assists); Simms 11 (5/6), 1 for loss; Ade 9 (4/5), 1 for loss; DeClerck 8 (3/5), 2 for loss; Garner 8 (6/2), 2 for loss; Hauser 7 (3/4); Kemezy 6 (4/2), 1 for loss; Rogers 5 (2/3), 1 for loss; Simpson 5 (2/3); Pokalsey 5 (3/2); Ballinger 4 (2/2); Ramsey 3 (2/1); Adcock 1 (0/1); KICKOFF RETURNS-Ballinger 4 for 120, Snyder 3 for 45; PUNT RETURNS-Snyder 3 for 24.