Rangers exhale after late pick seals wild win

From Herald Staff Reports

If the Forest Park football team learned anything about wins coming off a season in which the Rangers claimed their first postseason victory, it’s this: They all count, no matter how adventuresome the route.

Forest Park trailed at halftime, then hugged a two-touchdown lead late before almost juggling away a season-opening decision. But instead, Forest Park ventured into Fort Branch and nipped Gibson Southern 21-16 in a Pocket Athletic Conference contest.

Miles Leonard scored from a yard out in the first quarter, Travis Schnell burst in from two yards away in the third and Lance Buechler smothered a Titan fumble in the end zone in the fourth quarter to propel the Rangers (1-0, 1-0) to a 21-7 advantage with a little less than 11 minutes remaining. Smooth sailing for the Rangers against a team they had downed the previous two years, right?

Then, things got interesting.

Gibson Southern scored on a safety and later struck with a touchdown with 1:44 left to draw within 21-16. The Titans then recovered an onside kick. But after a few completed passes moved the Titans a bit closer, Forest Park senior Ben Braunecker wrapped his arms around an interception.

The statistics mirrored a game that wasn’t cemented until the final minute.

Counting punts and penalties, each squad endured seven mistakes. And tossed two interceptions. But each was opportunistic, scoring a defensive touchdown each — the Titans’ Adam Heath knotted the score at 7-all in the first quarter with at 29-yard fumble return.

Forest Park (230 total yards) gained 10 fewer yards then Gibson Southern, gained one fewer first down and suffered one additional turnover. But the Rangers chewed up 40 more rushing yards than the Titans, allowing Forest Park the ability for some last-minute hiccups.

Forest Park tangles with another opponent which the Rangers trumped last year, Perry Central (0-1), next Friday at Ferdinand.

2011 schedule
Aug. 19 — at Gibson Southern W 21-16
Aug. 26 — PERRY CENTRAL, 8 p.m.
Sept. 2 — at Southridge
Sept. 9 — CRAWFORD COUNTY
Sept. 16 — PIKE CENTRAL
Sept. 23 — at North Posey
Sept. 30 — SOUTH SPENCER
Oct. 7 — HERITAGE HILLS
Oct. 14 — at Tell City

Contact The Herald at sports@dcherald.com.




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