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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy Bowen Arrow Photography Angola's Luke Honer blocks a 30-yard field goal attempt Friday in the final seconds against Culver Academy to force overtime in a game the Hornets went on to win 31-30.

Monday, November 06, 2017 1:00 am

Blocked kick set up Angola's overtime win

JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette

Luke Honer trusted his instincts. Now he's a part of history.

When Culver Academy lined up for a potential game-winning 30-yard field goal in the final seconds of regulation in a Class 4A sectional championship road game Friday, Honer and Jake Bradley, both safeties on the Angola field goal block unit, realized the Eagles' line could be breached.

Normally, Honer and Bradley watch for a fake field goal. Knowing the situation at hand, Hornets coach Andy Thomas called timeout to discuss other strategies.

“Bradley says, 'Look at this hole here,' ” Honer said. “I told (Thomas), 'Coach, I see this hole, can I go for it?' ”

“We said sure, of course,” Thomas said. “The guys on his side – Marques (Tagliaferri) and Antonio (Luevanos) – got in their gaps also.”

Oh, Honer went for it. And he got it. Streaking through the gap between Culver's left tackle and tight end, Honer blocked Alejandro Septien's field goal attempt.

“He had a great effort, he blew through there and made the play of his life,” Thomas said.

Honer's heroics preserved a 24-all tie to force overtime in what ultimately turned into a 31-30 Angola victory, securing the school's first sectional championship in 25 years.

“I keep watching it on film, and it gets better every time,” Honer said. “I wasn't thinking at all who was going to block me; I was just thinking get in there and dive, and it worked out somehow.”

The Hornets' work wasn't done. They still had to endure overtime, as well as the Culver offense. Following a 3-yard touchdown run, Septien had the chance to redeem himself. With the memory of Honer's block still very fresh in his mind, however, his extra point attempt sailed wide. Culver had the lead, but Angola had a chance.

“I think he was bothered by the block, and the bodies that were flying around him a little bit,” Thomas said.

Septien's kicking counterpart, Eric Cockroft, noticed the Culver kicker looking toward the left side of his line, where Honer had blocked his previous kick.

“I'm thinking during the (extra point) he was a little conscious about his operation time,” Cockroft said. “I'm guessing he got rushed with his mechanics, and he didn't focus on the form. I did feel really bad for him, but it ended up working out really well for us.”

Angola needed just two plays to respond, as Chase Schnepf's 1-yard stretch run to the left tied the game at 30. All that was left was the extra point.

Seeing Septien's mishaps could have caused trepidation for Cockroft. But for the Angola kicker, who was three for three on PATs to that point and had forged a tie at 24 with his season-long 39-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, those doubts weren't creeping in.

During the timeout Culver called between the touchdown and extra point, Cockroft assured his long snapper, Brock Tingley, and his holder, Jacob Domanski, of what was coming.

“I'd been taking reps like crazy over on the sideline, and I knew there was nothing they could do that would stop (the ball) from going through the uprights,” Cockroft said. “I said, 'This is probably the biggest play of our careers.' I told them, 'You guys do your job and I'll do mine, and we'll go win a sectional championship.' ”

Angola (12-0) plays host to Bishop Dwenger (9-3) on Friday in the regional.