The cleanest of games got a little dirty at the end, and that was exactly what the Lennox football team needed to get a 23-21 win over Tri-Valley on homecoming.
Two penalties between both teams all game and no turnovers, excluding turnovers on downs: Friday night was a battle of two methodical power run teams that weren’t beating themselves.
“Our schedule is brutal,” Lennox head coach Matthew Luze said. “We play good teams every week, and our guys know we’re not going to win games by three or four scores. We’re going to win games by a score or two, and we want to be there at the end of the game.”
Orioles running back John Oldenkamp had just been dragged down for a loss on a fourth-and-goal play from the one yard line with just under four and a half minutes to play, and the game was in the Mustangs’ hands if they could manage the clock.
But a busted play on second and 11 saw Tri-Valley running back Landon Freeman scrambling for his life in the back of the end zone, and Oldenkamp got his revenge by dragging Freeman down for a safety.
Lennox (4-1) needed just a couple of first downs to bleed out the clock and get the win, but the Orioles couldn’t get one and had to punt. Oldenkamp’s kick bounced into the end zone, and the Mustangs had another chance for a game-winning drive.
Tri-Valley (3-2) isn’t a team built to score quickly, though. The Mustangs ran their offense as fast as they possibly could, but were they going to chip away slowly, the clock would run out. They had to go to the air, and an under thrown ball over the middle that Tyler Leisinger jumped up and grabbed let Lennox take the ball and knee the game away.
Lennox’s students streamed onto the field shortly after, joyous that the Orioles were able to commemorate homecoming with a win.
“It’s not homecoming if you don’t win the Friday night game,” Luze said.