Coaches that come up on the short end of a close game are often fond of saying that their team didn’t lose, they just ran out of time.
Mosinee Coach Paul Nievinski didn’t say that, but he certainly could have following his team’s 13-10 overtime loss to Osceola Saturday, in a WIAA Division 3 Level 1 playoff game at Mosinee High School.
The loss ended third-seeded Mosinee’s season at 7-2. The sixth-seeded Chieftains improved to 7-2 and will play a Level 2 game next weekend at Medford.
“Both teams played a hard, good high school football game,” Nievinski said. “They just made some plays and we had too many penalties, mistakes and turnovers. We just didn’t finish.”
Mosinee came close, especially at the end of regulation. With the scored tied at 7, the home team looked like it might pull off a miraculous victory when it recovered an Osceola fumble at the 27-yard line with eight seconds left.
On the very next play, quarterback Zach Pyan connected with Jeremy Weinberg on a 25-yard pass play with two seconds left. The clock stopped on the first down at the 2-yard-line, but with no timeouts remaining, Mosinee couldn’t kick a field goal or get a play off before the clock ran out.
“We had to waste some timeouts when we were a little lethargic at times,” Nievinski said.
Mosinee still looked like it would have a decent shot in overtime, after Pyan scrambled 17 yards to give Mosinee a first down at the 8-yard line on the opening possession. But after taking three cracks at the end zone, the team had to settle for a 20-yard Austin McCarthy field goal.
Osceola then responded with the game-winning drive that was capped by Bryce Byl’s 1-yard touchdown plunge.
“I think both teams left it out on the field tonight,” Osceola Coach Scott Newton said. “Both defenses played outstanding.
“I’m proud of our kids for sticking with it through the ups and downs and turnovers and mistakes. I like how we responded and kept playing to the very end.”
The Chieftains never led until the final play in overtime. Mosinee took a 7-0 lead on its opening drive of the game when Pyan capped a 11-play, 50-yard march with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Osceola tied the game in the second quarter when Jett Houston took a pitch from quarterback Trevor Carlson and scampered 50 yards to the end zone.
“We had one defensive breakdown when two guys covered the dive on that option pitch,” Nievinski said. “Otherwise, they wouldn’t have scored.”
Mosinee dominated the game, statistically, piling up 18 first downs and 330 total yards while Osceola had just 169 total yards and eight first downs. But down in the red zone, Mosinee had trouble getting in the end zone.
“We’ve got nine seniors on defense and they bent a lot of times but they didn’t break and they did that all night,” Newton said. “I think that’s what wins these games.”
Pyan led all rushers with 110 yards on 26 carries. He also threw for 160 yards.
“Their quarterback was tough,” Newton said. “I’ve got to credit that kid for keeping plays alive for them. He did an outstanding job.”
Nievinski credited his whole team for its effort.
“I’m proud of our seniors and proud of our kids,” Nievinski said. “You get to the playoffs and anybody can beat anybody.”
M-Zach Pyan 6 run (Austin McCarthy kick)
O-Jett Houston 50 run (Victor Lowney kick)
M-McCarthy 20 field goal
O-Bryce Byl 1 run
Leading Rushers: Osceola – Houston 10-83, Byl 9-24; Mosinee – Pyan 26-110, Jake Hrebik 11-50.
Leading Passers: Osceola – Trevor Carlson 7-14-70; Mosinee – Pyan 15-28-160.
Leading Receivers: Osceola – Taylor Cross 2-31, Alex Freese 2-31; Mosinee – Brandon Piatrowski 7-61, Hrebik 3-37.