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By LARRY GOFFINET
TELL CITY—Tell City finally got its offense going in the last 14 minutes to beat Heritage Hills 16-13 in PAC football Friday.
It was the Marksmen’s first win over the Patriots since Aug. 28, 1992.
Heritage Hills took a 13-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Gabe Konerding with 3:26 left in the third quarter.
It was the second touchdown of the game for Konerding, who carried the ball 11 times on that drive.
The teams were about even statistically to that point, but some false-start penalties and an interception had stalled some Tell City drives.
The Marksmen responded this time, though, with a four-play drive capped by Reese Miller’s 39-yard touchdown run with 1:40 left in the third quarter.
“The line definitely did a good job blocking and (the Patriots) seemed a little winded,” said Miller. “We kept our endurance up and kept going.”
A 16-yard pass from Brennan Malone to Jimmy Phillips set up the touchdown.
One reason the passing game and Miller’s running were working then was the Patriots were keying on Tell City speedster Elliott Brown, who ran for 253 yards and four touchdowns in the previous week’s win over Mount Vernon.
Brown was held to 66 yards on 19 carries Friday. But Miller gained 65 yards on just seven carries.
“We stressed to our kids all week how good Brown was and how fast he was, and we were able to fly to the ball and contain him,” said Heritage Hills Coach Todd Wilkerson. “But then we didn’t do a very good job on the other kid (Miller).”
Tell City Coach Ryan George said, “In years past when we got down 13-0, we would’ve said, ‘Here we go again.’ But tonight our kids never gave up. We got that touchdown and got a spark.”
That spark energized the defense, which held the Patriots to no first downs the rest of the game.
The Patriots punted from their own 15-yard line on their next possession. Spenser Beard returned it 11 yards to the Heritage Hills 37.
Brown capped that drive with an 11-yard touchdown run, his longest run of the night. He avoided a tackle by pulling his foot out of the grasp of Patriot defender Kenton Crews on the way in.
Beard then kicked his second extra point to put the Marksmen up 14-13.
Beard boomed a 58-yard punt a few minutes later to keep the Patriots in poor field position.
After Justin Gunterman made a nice tackle on Konerding for a first-down loss, the Marksmen scored a safety two plays later when they stopped Patriot quarterback Caleb Mulzer in his own end zone.
The Patriots had only one possession after that and threw four consecutive incomplete passes on it.
They completed only 3 of 14 passes for 15 yards.
Malone completed 5 of 9 passes for 65 yards for Tell City.
Konerding rushed for 161 yards on 27 carries. But more balanced Tell City had only 15 fewer rushing yards than the Patriots in nine fewer attempts.
“I thought (right guard) Shane Roerk played a pretty good game on our offensive line,” said George. “He came to me in the second half and said, ‘We can run it behind me—I can get my guy out of there.”
Tell City improved to 2-0 while Heritage Hills fell to 0-2.
The Marksmen will visit South Spencer Friday at 7 p.m.