Just five minutes remained when Luke Fogarty’s second touchdown run of the game, from 19 yards out, gave the Belle Plaine Tigers a 16-14 lead in its season opener on Friday night, Oct. 9, in Norwood Young America.
But a couple third-down conversions helped the Raiders keep its answering drive alive, resulting in a game-clinching touchdown run from seven-yards out in the game’s final minute of a 20-16 NYA victory.
The Tigers drove to near mid-field before fumbling the ball away in the final seconds.
“Overall, we performed very well,” said Coach Joe Joyce, “but our mistakes hurt us a lot more than theirs did. I am proud of how we responded by taking the lead late after their second score, but we did not do enough to win the game. We will use those lessons to prepare for LSH this week.”
NYA scored a first quarter TD for a 6-0 lead, but Fogarty’s first touchdown, from 15 yards out, and Nehemiah Juaire’s two-point run gave Belle Plaine an 8-6 halftime advantage.
NYA led 12-8 after three quarters before the teams exchanged scores in the final half-quarter.
The Raiders out-gained Belle Plaine 297-271. NYA had 112 yards passing and 185 on the ground. Belle Plaine’s Fogarty was 2-of-5 through the air for 24 yards, and the Tigers rushed 46 times for 247 yards.
Juaire carried 26 times for 142 yards. Fogarty (11-63), Gunnar Geisler (3-29) and Parker Borresen (6-13) contributed to the rushing attack.
Will Degree (1-for-15) and Juaire (1-9) were the pass-catchers.
The Tigers put the ball to the turf three times, losing just one in the game’s final seconds.
Fogarty was the Tigers’ leading tackler with seven total tackles. Collin Hesser had six tackles and a fumble recovery, and Wyatt Borresen had six tackles. Gavin Fahey had five tackles and an interception.
Belle Plaine had many new faces experiencing their first varsity action, and Coach Joyce knew there would be some growing pains with a shortened pre-season and no scrimmages.
“Offensively, we need to be able to execute better inside the five-yard line and finish drives,” Joyce said. “Defensively, we gave up a few big plays that were the difference on that side of the ball.”
The Tigers had a 13 to nine edge in first downs but also committed 10 penalties in comparison to just four for NYA.
The BPHS Tigers will play LeSueur-Henderson on Friday night, Oct. 16, at home. The Giants fell to Tri-City United 36-12 in its opener.
2020 BPHS Football Team’s Results and Schedule
L Oct. 9 - NYA 20, BP 16
Oct. 16 vs. LSH
Oct. 23 at SE
Oct. 30 at Jordan
Nov. 6 vs. TCU
Nov. 11 vs. Waseca