ANDERSON — Anderson’s Indians trailed Logansport by two touchdowns with less than four minutes remaining in the contest Friday night and could have been forgiven for feeling the weight of the world on its shoulders.
But what the Indians (1-3) did with that little time might have turned their season around.
The Tribe rallied for 15 unanswered points, scoring the last three on a 20-yard field goal by Cody Gray as time expired on a 29-28 victory.
“It’s kind of unbelievable how we did it,” head coach Randy Albano said Saturday after taking some time to digest the victory.
That’s no small reaction coming from a veteran of 26 seasons on high school sidelines.
And it’s far from overstatement.
Anderson’s comeback began with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Gaven Owens to tight end Robbie Peal. When the Berries were called for encroachment on the extra-point attempt, the Indians went for two points from the 1-yard line and were stuffed.
After the defense forced a punt, returning running back Jerian Beard rumbled in for a touchdown to pull the Tribe within 28-26. Albano called timeout to set up another two-point try, but Logansport’s defense held again.
Anderson tried an onside kick but the Berries recovered and took possession with 2:34 remaining. The Indians used their last timeout, and Logansport ran down the clock as far as possible before a punt attempt.
The snap went over the punter’s head, and the Indians took over at their own 45-yard line with 32 seconds left and no timeouts.
A quick completion to Brandon Chapman gained nine yards, and Anderson killed the clock with 10 seconds left. Owens then lofted a hail mary toward the end zone, which Beard somehow pulled in at the 3-yard line.
The clock stopped for a first down, and the Indians got to the line of scrimmage with two seconds left. A quick spike left one tick on the clock and set up Gray’s heroics.
“The kids had faith,” Albano said. “They always believed they could win. You don’t see many games like that by high school kids. That’s one of the best comebacks I’ve been a part of.”
Anderson improved to 1-1 in the North Central Conference and hosts Huntington North on Friday.
Alexandria will welcome its 1965 Central Indiana Conference championship team for Friday’s homecoming contest against Oak Hill.
The timing scarcely could be better.
The Tigers (3-1) improved to 1-1 in league play with an upset of previously unbeaten Mississinewa in Week 4. The victory reasserted Alexandria into a tight CIC race and was the latest evidence that head coach Pete Gast’s program is headed in the right direction.
“It’s kind of neat how that all has played out going into the homecoming game,” Gast said. “There’s a lot of (the 1965 players) coming together, and we may even have one or two speak with the team if they choose to do so.”
Gast was even more pleased with the win because it came on the heels of a blowout loss at Eastbrook a week earlier. Instead of giving up on themselves, the Tigers dug deep and produced a program-defining upset.
“We just needed to go out and play hard, be physical and just do what we did (Friday) night,” Gast said. “It wasn’t about talent. It was about heart and wanting to win.”
Elwood senior Sammy Mireles is chasing the state career rushing record this season. The Herald Bulletin will provide a weekly update on his progress the rest of the way.
Mireles entered the year needing 2,170 yards to surpass former Cathedral star Otis Shannon’s career total of 7,560 set from 1997 through 2000. After gaining 365 yards — and scoring a school-record seven touchdowns — during a 74-54 victory against Madison-Grant on Friday night, Mireles now has 1,068 yards this year.
He’s averaging 267 yards per game and needs 1,102 more to set the record. If Elwood (2-2) plays the minimum of six games the rest of the season — including a first-round sectional matchup — Mireles needs to average 183.7 yards per game to become the state’s new career rushing leader.