By Gary R. Rasberry
LIMA -- Trailing 21-14 at halftime, Coldwater coach John Reed asked his team a question: If the game ended at that point, would they be satisfied with their effort?
The answer was a resounding "No" and the team went about to making sure that the second half would change the answer.
Coldwater held Delta to one more touchdown in the second half and tied the game at 28-all with a minute left in regulation. In the second overtime, Coldwater stopped the Panthers on a fourth-and-goal then scored the game-winner on its possession to avenge last season's regional final loss with a 41-35 win at Lima Stadium at the Division IV playoffs.
The Cavaliers (12-0) play unbeaten Huron on Friday at a site that will be announced on Sunday. Huron needed overtime before dispatching Ostego 20-14. Delta ends the season at 9-3.
"We didn't put anything on the board," said a very happy Reed. "We just talked about if you could be satisfied leaving this stadium the way you played in the first half. To a man, they said no and they could not end the season like that. I told them, they may not win, but you have to go out and leave everything out there." Coldwater could not move the ball on its first possession of the second half and after punting, held Delta to three plays. On the punt, the snap went over the head of Ryan Vicars. On his attempt to punt the ball, Matt Howell stepped in and blocked it putting the ball to rest on the Delta six-yard line. Two plays later, Homan scored his second rushing touchdown of the night to tie the game.
The Cavaliers continued to hold the Panthers through the third and into the fourth. Midway through the fourth, Delta punted the ball away. The ball hit the Cav 35 and rolled back hitting a Coldwater player accidentally and a Delta player slid in and recovered the ball to put the Panthers 22 yards away from taking the lead.
Delta kept the ball on the ground and got it to the three, where Vicars punched in the final distance with 4:37 left to tie the game.
Coldwater moved the ball well on the ensuing possession. Steve Borger, who had two first-half interceptions, found the stroke to Brady Geier and Ryan Gerlach. Gerlach's catches came after breaking off his block and acting as a safety valve outlet for Borger, who was getting chased down by Panther defenders. The pass plays, including a 16-yarder to Justin Kahlig to convert a fourth-and-seven from the Panther 38, helped get the team to the 13. Homan used two big runs to get the last 13 yards to tie the game with 68 seconds left in regulation.
Delta refused to take a knee to send the game into overtime as Nate Kmic broke off big runs to move the ball, helping get the team to the Coldwater 27 with one second left. Kmic tried a 44-yard field goal to win the game but the ball was well short, setting up overtime.
Delta won the toss and let Coldwater try first. There was no break for the offense as the first play from the 20 saw Borger find Kyle Schoenherr for the touchdown. Trevor Stromblad kicked the extra point to make it 35-28. Delta responded as Kmic picked up 13 yards on two plays and Moss broke in from the seven yards out on the third play to make it 35-all after Kmic's boot.
The Panthers had the opportunity to try and score first in the second overtime. Kmic and Moss again moved the ball, but Coldwater stood firm and kept the team from getting farther than the two. Rather than try a field goal, Delta elected to go for the score on fourth-and-two. Coldwater's Aron Castle broke through and twisted Vicars down and away from the goal for a four-yard loss and gave Coldwater a chance to win with a score.
"I took off from the line and grabbed his legs," said Castle. "I didn't even know he had the ball. I got up and everyone was cheering. Then I saw he had the ball."
Coldwater played it safe, giving the ball to Homan for three plays to get a first down at the seven. Two more Homan runs netted three more yards as Coldwater looked to get Stromblad in line for the field goal if the touchdown was not there. On third-and-four, Coldwater looked set to roll right to give Stomblad a straight look at the uprights on a kick. Borger, who finished 16-of-23 for 241 yards, did roll right, but threw to a cutting Homan in the end zone to end the game.
"We got that play from an assistant coach from the University of Cincinnati," said Reed. "We spent all kinds of time working on the play, but we never used it this year. That was the first time."
The Cavaliers held Kmic to 112 yards, about 30 under his season average. The team credited the scout team, especially senior Andy Boudreau, who was Kmic in practice this week.
"It was exactly like it was in practice," said Boudreau of Kmic's play. "All year, scout team ran every kind of offense we could imagine. They did a heckuva job this week."