For the second time this season the Goodland Cowboys pushed a game into overtime and for the second time they lost. This time falling to Smoky Valley 21-20 in double overtime on Friday night at Cowboy Stadium.
Coming into the game it was a contest the Cowboys felt like they matched up well against Vikings who had not scored in three of their four ballgames so far this season. A win for Goodland would have meant getting to three wins for the first time since 2016.
Cowboys got off to a great start thanks in part to two freshman. Wideout Manny Gonzalez retuned the opening kickoff to the Viking 20 yard line and then due to a penalty the Cowboys started the drive at the ten. Three plays later freshman quarterback Cole Linton, making his first start of his career, flipped it out to Mason Murray who ran it in from 12 yards out to get GHS up early 6-0.
The Cowboys offense would then not score unfortunately until late in the ballgame but Goodland remained in the game thanks mostly to its defense that had struggled to slow down opponents rushing attacks all season. But the Cowboy defense kept Smoky Valley out of the end zone until just before halftime when the Vikings capped a 12 play drive with a Trystan Stambaugh seven yard touchdown run to tie the game at six going into the half.
The third quarter saw GHS recover a muffed kick to take the ball back to start the half but neither team would do much in the period as both squads would punt twice leaving the game tied at six going the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Smokey Valley’s Wishbone offense ate up yards and clock and would eventually take their first lead with just over four minutes to play. It was a touchdown drive that started with a minute left in the fourth quarter and would last 17 plays resulting in another Stambuagh score from two yards out, making it 14-8 after a two point conversion.
Goodland’s offense, who had not had a drive last longer than five plays the entire game, responded when it matter most. Linton led the Cowboys on an eleven play, 70-yard drive that saw GHS convert on a fourth & five pass to Mason Hernandez and evenly would end with Bryson Waters running in a 15 yard-reception to make it a two point game.
With the game on the line, needing two points. Linton found his favorite target of the night, Hernandez, who came back and made a difficult catch to send the game to overtime tied at 14.
Goodland, who lost in overrate to Bridgeport, Nebraska three weeks ago, won the toss and was able to stuff a fourth down and one run at the goal line and prevent the Vikings from any points. Unfortunately GHS did not take advantage as they went backwards due to penalties and mistakes and ended up getting no points after botching the snap & hold on a 35 yard field goal to win it.
In the second overtime Goodland would win the toss again and get to put their defense back on the field first, this time though they couldn’t stop Smoky Valley as quarterback Jake Lucas found the end zone on a third down and six run to give them a 21-14 lead after a made extra point.
The Cowboys didn’t waist time answering as Linton threw his third touchdown pass of the night on the offenses very first play to Devontay Hardy to get the game back within one. After a timeout head coach Chase Topliff and the team decided to go for two and the win. On the two point conversion, Linton looked for Hardy again unfortunately the pass was a bit too high and hot to handle and Cowboys lost 21-20.
In all, It was one of the better performances in some time for the Cowboy defense who held SHVS to 221 total yards, a season low for Goodland. And the Cowboys actually out-gained the Vikings 251 to 221 in the loss. Cole Linton threw for a career-high 129 yards & three scores but all two picks. Sophomore Bryson Waters also had a career game runs for 135 yards on just 10 carries and had a 15 yard receiving score. Mason Hernandez led the Cowboy wideout with six big catches for 48 yards.
Trystan Stambaugh led Smoky Valley with 86 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the win. Quarterback Jake Lucas went for just 51 yards but completed big passes when the Vikings really needed then.
The loss dropped Goodland to 2-3 on the season and will now face top-five ranked & undefeated Southeast of Saline in Gypsm next Friday. Smoky Valley with the win avoided their first 1-4 start since 2010. At 2-3 the Vikings will play at Scott City next Friday.
GOODLAND HEAD COACH CHASE TOPLIFF POSTGAME: