All streaks come to an end, and for the Louise Hornets (4-1, 1-1), it came at home Friday night at Hornet Stadium in a tight 26-24 loss to the Runge Yellowjackets (4-1, 2-0).
The Hornets trailed for most of the game, including down by two scores in the fourth quarter. The offense and defense came up with big plays down the stretch but an injury and time kept the Hornets from completing a comeback to save their undefeated season.
"We had a chance," Hornets Head Coach Joe Bill said. "We missed a field goal (late) in the game that could have made a difference. We had a touchdown pass called back earlier for an illegal procedure. But man I'm just proud of the kids for their effort."
For the whole second half, the Hornets were without senior running back and defensive back Rogeric Schooler. Without a deep threat to throw the ball the Yellowjackets loaded the box and made the Hornets pick up tough yards. The Yellowjackets also took advantage of the Hornets youth in the secondary and caught them for two long touchdown passes on the night.
Trailing 26-17 in the fourth quarter the Hornets offense hit Runge for back-to-back big plays with senior quarterback Daylon Machicek and junior running back Blayke Yeager picking up 50 yards between them on runs. On Machicek's run, Runge committed a personal foul putting the Hornets inside their own goal line. Three plays later Machicek ran the ball in from three yards out and after an extra point, the score was 26-24.
Needing a stop or a turnover, the Hornets went for the onside kick. Sophomore kicker Roy Arrambide got the bounce Louise was looking for, but the Runge receiver was able to high-point the ball and come down with it.
Runge's offense picked up two first downs and bleed the clock under two minutes. Nearing field goal range, the Hornets defense stiffened and forced a fourth and four. Runge elected to go for the first down and seal the win, but the Hornets defense brought heavy pressure. The Yellowjackets 6'4 quarterback was hit by Arrambide in the backfield, but he wasn't able to bring him down and continued to roll out of the pocket, eventually throwing the ball away and turning the ball over, but not before getting the clock under 50 seconds.
On the 33-yard line, with little time left on the clock, Runge was able to stop the Hornets with three straight incompletions.
The Hornets on their final play got a short completion and tired for letterals, but Runge's defense held.
"We could have folded but our kids battled until the end," Bill said. "We just ran out of time at the end."
The Hornets schedule gets tougher next week with a road game against the Falls City Beavers (3-2, 2-0) who'll be coming off their bye week.