Grant Union 33, Nampa Christian 28
JOHN DAY - A four-yard pass from quarterback Trevor Simmons to split end Taylor Schmadeka with 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter erased a one-point Nampa Christian lead and gave the Grant Union a 33-28 victory over the Trojans in the opening game of the 2002 football season for both teams on Friday, Sept. 6.
The Prospectors appeared to be in complete control of the game taking a 13-0 lead after the first quarter of action and threatened to make a runaway of the contest.
Simmons connected with Schmadeka on a 76-yard scoring strike with 9:22 remaining in the opening quarter and after Brandon Hueckman booted the extra point, the Prospectors were up 7-0.
Grant Union increased the lead to 13-0 when Simmons hit Cody Frazier with another scoring pass from 25 yards out with four seconds left in the opening frame.
On defense, the Prospectors held the Trojans without a first down over the first 12 minutes of the game.
"We knew this game was going to be a tough test for us; they are a big, physical team," Grant Union coach Monty Nash said. "I didn't realize it was going to be as tough as it turned out to be."
Nampa Christian finally got things going in the second quarter.
Garret Nelson shaved the lead to 13-8 with a 17-yard dash and a two-point conversion run for the Trojans at the 8:11 mark, but a Simmons to Geoff Brown pass covering 48-yards less than two minutes later put the Prospectors up 21-8.
Tyler Hoaglun hit Marcus Stuart from 46-yards out to bring Nampa Christian back once more and to narrow the gap to 21-14 in favor of Grant Union at halftime.
A 28-yard Nelson run and a Stan Oos kick for Nampa Christian tied the score at the 8:15 mark of the third quarter.
Undaunted, Grant Union came right back mounting an 11-play, 65-yard scoring drive capped by a one-yard Hueckman run, to put the Prospectors back on top once again, 27-21, as the third quarter ended.
The Trojans took the lead for the first time in the contest when Hoaglun engineered a seven-play drive and Shawn Haverfield scored on a nine-yard run on fourth down.
Stan Oos booted the extra point and the Trojans were up 28-27 with 7:09 left in the game.
Things were looking grim for Grant Union in the waning moments when a punt pinned the Prospectors back at their own 12-yard line with 1:50 remaining in the game. But then the Simmons to Schmadeka connection then went to work, big time.
The senior quarterback hit Schmadeka with a nine-yard pass and a five-yard face mask penalty gave Grant Union a first down at its own 28.
Simmons then connected with Justin Cernazanu for 11-yards and another first down before gaining six yards himself on a critical fourth and four situation to move the ball out to the 45-yard line.
Simmons found Schmadeka with two-straight passes good for four and 40 yards and suddenly the Prospectors were looking at a first-and-goal situation on the Trojan four-yard line with 28 seconds remaining in the game.
With the Prospector fans standing on their feet, Simmons gave Grant Union the victory with a four-yard toss to Schmadeka who beat the Nampa Christian cornerback in the right flat for the go-ahead touchdown.
Nampa Christian had one last chance in the final seconds, but Schmadeka picked off an errant Hoaglun pass with eight seconds left to put the game away for good.
"The kids never gave up. We had a lot of penalties and had several chances to throw the game away by making mistakes, but we held together. I couldn't be prouder of the way the kids came through tonight," Nash said.
Simmons was 20-for-31 in passing for 360 yards and rushed for an additional 36 yards.
Schmadeka caught 11 passes good for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
Frazier caught three balls good for 45 yards and a touchdown, and Billy Colson had three catches for 41 yards.
Hueckman rushed for 33 yards and a touchdown.
Hoaglun passed for 122 yards to lead Nampa Christian, and Marcus Stuart had 60 yards rushing on four carries.
Grant Union returns to action on Friday hosting Payette, Idaho. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.