With a slight wind at his back and a lot of moisture in the air, Lincoln Southwest’s Dylan Jorgensen stayed the course, even when a high snap made things interesting.
Jorgensen’s 33-yard field goal with 38 seconds left in the game lifted Lincoln Southwest to a 17-15 win over 10th-ranked Kearney on Friday night at Beechner Field as the Silver Hawks came back after surrendering a two-touchdown lead.
Jorgensen’s game-winner, the first of his career, came on fourth down and was set up by a 13-play drive that started on Southwest’s 41-yard line with 7:43 left in the game. During the drive, the Silver Hawks (6-1) converted twice on third down, overcame a holding penalty on Kearney’s 13-yard line, and recovered their third fumble of the game to give Jorgensen a chance.
The snap sailed high but not out of reach for holder TaeVyn Grixby. The 6-foot-3 senior secured the ball and got it placed down as Jorgensen, after a brief hesitation, split the uprights and sent Southwest’s sideline into celebration mode.
“I saw the snap was a little wide and I saw TaeVyn struggle a little bit, but he’s a great holder and I trust him,” Jorgensen said. “He got it down and I did what I do best. I knew TaeVyn would do everything he could to get that ball down.”
Jorgensen said the two timeouts preceding his kick didn’t bother him, even as a steady drizzle continued to settle on the football. Southwest called the first timeout after running down the clock, and Kearney coach Brandon Cool called the second in an attempt to ice Jorgensen.
“It’s nerve-wracking, but I practice this stuff every day with my snapper and holder,” Jorgensen said. “I love it when teams call timeout. It gives me more time to go through the motion. I practice kicking with no ball there. I just keep my form down and kick it.”
Grixby said he just wanted to give his teammate a chance.
“We practice that every day, and I knew he would make it,” Grixby said. “The ball was really wet. I didn’t even look when Dylan kicked it. I knew it was good.”
Southwest coach Andrew Sherman had additional worries as he watched the snap sail dangerously high.
“I was worried we were gonna call ‘fire’ and run our automatic on a bad snap,” Sherman said. “TaeVyn had the wherewithal to grab it and put it down. And, obviously, Dylan is clutch. The kid has a great leg and he’s savvy. I froze him once and (Kearney) froze him, but it didn’t matter.”
Southwest built its early lead behind an offensive line that opened holes for Frazzie Wynn and Caden McCormack. Wynn weaved his way for 154 yards on 31 carries and two touchdowns. McCormack added 80 yards on 14 carries. On the Silver Hawks’ game-winning drive, Wynn carried the ball 11 times, including the final nine before Jorgensen’s field goal.
Wynn had 114 yards rushing at halftime, but defensive adjustments held the senior in check most of the second half.
“In the beginning I think we surprised them when we lined up with two backs because we hadn’t shown that much at all,” Sherman said. “We couldn’t do much on the edge in the second half and they were bringing both backers and we missed blocking them a few times.”
Kearney (4-3) took a 15-14 lead on the final play of the third period, a 35-yard field goal by Gabe Heins. The Bearcats overcame a 14-0 deficit with a spirited second-half defensive effort led by defensive end Seth Stroh, who also caught three passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.
The Bearcats' first touchdown came late in the opening period when Stroh got behind Silver Hawk defenders and scored easily on a 35-yard pass from quarterback Brayden Miller.
LINCOLN SOUTHWEST 17, KEARNEY 15
SW-Wynn 2 run (Jorgensen kick)
SW-Wynn 17 run (Jorgensen kick)
K-Stroh 35 pass from B. Miller (kick failed)
K-Hagemann 1 run (pass failed)
K-Heins 35 FG
SW-Jorgensen 33 FG
RUSHING: K, B. Miller 20-59, Maessner 4-25, Kemp 5-28, Hagemann 2-0, Team 1-minus 2. SW, Wynn 31-154, McCormack 14-80, Harnly 7-2.
PASSING: K, B. Miller 6-12-1 95. SW, Harnly 0-2-0 0.
RECEIVING: K, Stroh 3-69, Maessner 2-21, Ritcher 1-5.