VIENNA — Nolan Dahncke scored on a two-yard touchdown run to open the second overtime and Kyle VanCleve picked off Luca Gualdoni's pitch to seal the win for Vienna-Goreville, 20-14, over visiting Johnston City in a Black Diamond Conference battle Saturday afternoon.
‘Give all the credit to the kids,” said Vienna-Goreville coach Mike Rude. “They simply overcame, overcame, overcame and kept coming back despite the mistakes we made. Our defense played outstanding. You take away that late TD pass and they were marvelous with just two senior starters.”
Vienna-Goreville improved to 2-1 to remain second in the standings with Eldorado and Carmi-White County while Johnston City dropped into a third place tie with Edwards County and Chester at 1-2.
“When you don’t score the first two times you’re inside the 20 in the first quarter and you hold on to get beat in double overtime, that pretty much says everything that needs to be said,” said Johnston City coach Dan Mings.
In the second overtime, Johnston City won the toss and elected to defer, giving the Eagles the ball first on the 10. Dahncke gained eight yards off right tackle on first down. On second down, he burled in over right guard for the touchdown. Logyn Frassato’s extra point kick was short and wide right, leaving Vienna-Goreville with a six-point lead.
Johnston City began with Gualdoni gaining a yard on a quarterback sneak. On second down, Gualdoni pitched left to Dallas Johnson, who fumbled the ball. Gualdoni picked up the fumble and gained four yards on the right side.
Facing third down from the five, Johnston City ran the same play, but this time, VanCleve shot the gap and picked off the pitch to seal the win.
“At the beginning of the game I said I was going to intercept one of those pitches,” VanCleve said. “I was lined up at cornerback and Luca Gualdoni was hitting us with that pitch all night, and sure enough, he pitched the ball and I grabbed it and started running.”
Dahncke and Peyton Massey led the Eagles with 110 yards rushing each. Johnson led the Indians with 59 yards rushing, with Gualdoni adding 50.
The Vienna-Goreville defense played well, holding the Indians to 157 total yards and just two field goals on six trips into the red zone.
In the first quarter, Johnston City began its second drive at the Eagles' 22 after recovering a fumble. However, Gualdoni was picked off by Dahncke at the four-yard line.
Vienna-Goreville’s drive stalled at their own 41. A low snap on the punt handed the ball over to the Indians at the 16. However, the drive went nowhere and Gualdoni’s 30-yard field goal attempt was wide to the right.
The Eagles took over at the 20 and drove the length of the field on 12 plays, finishing with Massey scoring from the 13. The two-point conversion run failed, leaving the Eagles with a 6-0 lead with 5:12 left in the half.
The Indians blocked an Eagle punt on the Vienna 15 with 2:07 left. After three plays gained just four yards, Gualdoni kicked a 27-yard field goal with 40.2 seconds left to cut the lead to 6-3 at the half.
Gualdoni tied the scored with a 28-yard field goal with 6:14 remaining in the third quarter on a drive that started at the Vienna-Goreville 24 when the Eagles failed to convert a 4th-and-1 from the 29.
After being forced to punt on their next possession, the Eagles got the ball right back when Brett Davis forced and recovered a fumble at their own 33.
The Eagles then went on a seven-play, 67 yard drive, ending with Dahncke scoring from the four to retake the lead. Dahncke ran in the two-point conversion and the Eagles led 14-6 with 11:52 remaining in regulation time.
After getting the ball back on downs at the Johnston City 33 with 3:27 remaining in the fourth the Indians were facing a 4th-and-8 at the Vienna 42 with 12 seconds left.
Gualdoni scrambled to his left and launched a long Hail Mary pass into the end zone where Dahncke initially had his hands on the ball, but Johnson pulled the ball away and held on for the touchdown with 5.4 seconds left. Gualdoni scored over right guard and the score was tied at 14.
Johnston City won the toss and elected to be on offense first. The ball was placed on the five instead of the 10 as a result of the half-the-distance-to-the-goal penalty. Gualdoni gained four on first down, but the Indians were called for holding pushing the ball back to the 15. The drive stalled and Gualdoni missed a 35-yard field attempt wide left.
Vienna-Goreville’s first drive also went nowhere and ended with Frassato missing a 32-yard field goal wide right.