MILL CITY – St. Paul head coach coach Tony Smith told his football team throughout the week in practice that every game in the Tri-River Conference was going to be a fight.
“That’s exactly what it was,” Smith said after the Buckaroos rallied for a 29-27 victory Friday at No. 5 Santiam in their Tri-River Conference opener.
In a back-and-forth game, Santiam (1-1 Tri-River, 5-1 overall) took a 27-23 lead on senior Kraig Arndt’s 4-yard touchdown run with 8:38 remaining.
No. 6 St. Paul (1-0 Tri-River, 4-1 overall) answered with an 18-play, 78-yard scoring drive that came down to one play.
With fourth-and 3 from the Wolverines’ 4-yard line, sophomore Justin Herberger raced around left end untouched into the end zone for the game-winning score with 47 seconds left.
“It felt great,” said Herberger, who also scored on a 47-yard run in the third quarter to give St. Paul a 23-14 lead. “The line did a fantastic job blocking.”
Santiam was unable to sustain a drive on its final possession.
St. Paul senior Fernando Dela Cerda ran for 170 yards, his fifth consecutive 100-yard rushing game.
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