Rangers shutout Marksmen for second time

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Forest Park's Tanler Schnarr fist bumps Ryan Kempf of Bretzville as the team celebrates winning Friday's football sectional opener in Ferdinand. Forest Park defeated Tell City 9-0.



The Forest Park football team had a feeling its rematch with Tell City would come down to the wire. After beating the Marksmen 14-0 last week, the Rangers prepared to face a Tell City team with renewed vigor and purpose that comes with sectional play. So all week long, senior kicker Abby Eckert was getting ready in case she was called upon to kick what could be a game-deciding field goal.

“They had been saying it’s going to come down to a field goal,” Eckert said of the week leading up to the opening round of Class 2A sectional play. “I’d been preparing myself all week for the fact that it might be up to me to do it.”

Sure enough, that moment came at the end of the third quarter. After Forest Park drove to Tell City’s 13 yard line, Eckert was called in on fourth and 3 for a 30-yard try to give the Rangers a two-score lead in the game. She lined up her kick and got it just inside the left upright, scoring the final points necessary to secure the Rangers’ 9-0 first-round sectional win over the Marksmen.

“It was close to going left,” she said, “so whenever it ended up going in, it was just a huge relief.”

Forest Park's Abby Eckert warms up before Friday's football sectional opener in Ferdinand. Forest Park defeated Tell City 9-0.

But it wasn’t just the field goal that helped the Rangers (6-4) punch their ticket to the second round. Tell City (5-5) ran into trouble with taking care of the ball again, following up their six-turnover game from the week before with four more against the Rangers Friday night. Each of the turnovers cost the Marksmen a chance to score, but none were more punishing than the first one they committed in the second quarter.

The Marksmen had just come up with a sack on sophomore quarterback Cooper Uebelhor to force a punt, and were looking to get the most out of their starting position near midfield. But on the first play of their drive, sophomore quarterback Aden Dodson fumbled the ball on a rushing attempt, which was recovered by junior defensive lineman Dylan Bays. Five plays later, Uebelhor connected with senior running back Jake Begle for a 29-yard touchdown, although the two-point conversion fell short.

“We were working on that play all week,” Uebelhor said. “It happened to work out and turned out good on our side.”

Sophomore linebacker Beau Rasche came up with the other critical turnover in the fourth quarter that helped seal the deal for the Rangers. The Marksmen were driving once again, making it all the way to the Rangers’ 24 yard line before stalling after three straight incomplete passes. Tell City decided to go for it on fourth and 10, and when Dodson heaved it up, Rasche was in the right spot to scoop up the interception and kill the possibility of threatening the red zone.

“We kind of knew what route they were going to run,” Rasche said. “I saw both those guys in the backfield, got deep, and he threw the ball. I was just in the right spot.”

Every possession is precious now that teams have reached the “second season” where the right to play the next game isn’t guaranteed week to week, so coach Ross Fuhs was more than delighted that the Ranger defense was up to the challenge of taking the ball away from the Marksmen and snatching possible points off the board at every opportunity.

“Our defense has been pretty solid — that’s our fourth shutout of the year,” he said. “Those guys get more and more confidence every week. Those guys stepped up big. We had a couple starters dinged up, so we had to shuffle some other guys in. Guys just stepped up and played a great game.”

Forest Park won its third-ever sectional game after putting away Tell City on Friday, but Fuhs doesn’t want the train to stop there. The Rangers will play at North Knox next Friday after the Warriors posted a 55-21 win over South Spencer, and they’re looking forward to getting back to work in the coming week with thoughts of competing for a title.

“We want to win every week, that’s our goal,” Fuhs said. “It would be huge to get another win and play for a sectional championship.”

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