The Rainier Mountaineers, who overcame the loss of their starting quarterback in the first half, were nearly swamped by their own mistakes in the second half before a bolt of last-snap drama.
Devan Stancil aimed a pass toward the Onalaska end zone as the clock ticked down to zero. The football tipped off Mountaineer Ian Russell and into the hands of Dillon Stancil just inside the end line, and the Mountaineers escaped with an improbable 22-20 victory Friday night at Rainier.
The Mountaineers, ranked No. 8 in Class 2B, improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1990 with the win over the ninth-ranked Loggers (3-2).
A roughing-the-passer penalty on Onalaska with 12 seconds on the clock gave the Mountaineers a first down at the Loggers 30 to allow for two shots at the end zone by Devan Stancil, who had taken over for Zach Lofgren in the first half.
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Earlier, a spate of major penalties and untimely turnovers had the Mounties on the verge of their first loss.
The biggest mistakes of all gave the Loggers a 20-16 lead after Trace Lawrence scooped up a Devan Stancil fumble and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
When Rainier’s sophomore quarterback, Lofgren, lay on the turf near the Onalaska 20-yard line late in the first half, it seemed like not just the stalling of a promising offensive drive, but maybe something worse. Lofgren left the game on a stretcher.
Devan Stancil stepped in, and the drive continued. After pass interference deleted an Onalaska interception, Russell (a 6-2, 217-pound senior) powered into the end zone from 4 yards away as the Mountaineers grabbed a 16-6 lead seconds before halftime.
And the better news: Lofgren was not seriously injured. He did not return to the game with what was described as a shoulder stinger, but was on the sidelines for the second half.
Onalaska drew first blood in the game on a 7-yard run by Ernie Roque. Roque, a 5-foot-5 senior, tore off runs of 13 and 18 yards on the six-play, 51-yard drive.
Rainier opened the second quarter with its crispest series of the half, covering 57 yards in seven plays, capped by Lofgren’s 10-yard scamper up the middle to the end zone. Lofgren hit Devan Stancil for 19 yards for a key first down in the series.
O – Ernie Roque 7 run (run failed)
R – Zach Lofgren 10 run (Devan Stancil kick)
R – Safety (punt snap out of end zone)
R – Ian Russell 4 run (Stancil kick)
O – Roque 8 run (run failed)
O – Trace Lawrence 30 fumble return (Roque run)
R – Dillon Stancil 30 pass from Devan Stancil (no conversion )