ROCKY RIVER — It was only fitting Friday night that Christian Petek was the one to punch in the final touchdown for Buckeye’s football team against Lutheran West.
After piloting a drive in which the Bucks chewed up more than 8 minutes, the senior quarterback got a second chance to punch in an insurance score en route to beating the Longhorns 17-7 in Patriot Athletic Conference cross-division play.
“It’s every kid’s dream to play in a big game like this on a Friday night,” Petek said with a grin. “The line came through awesome. They played their butts off.
“It’s just nice coming into PAC play 2-0. Can’t beat it. We have so much momentum.”
The Bucks (2-3, 2-0) did it by controlling the line of scrimmage and having their defense come up with plays — and that’s with the majority of the lineup playing both ways.
That fatigue didn’t show, however, as Buckeye was able to wash away the bitter taste of a 13-play drive earlier in the game that ended on the Longhorns’ 13-yard-line.
The Bucks didn’t hang their heads and responded by forcing Lutheran West (2-3, 0-2) into a three-and-out that ended with Andrew O’Hara tossing an incomplete pass off a fake punt from his own 14.
Two plays later, Petek ran right up the gut for the final score.
“We grinded it out and our defense made fantastic plays in the end,” Buckeye coach Mark Pinzone said. “The whole team, both sides of the ball and special teams, really came together, and that’s the mark of an improved team. I’m really proud of them.”
It started up front with Alex Wilk, John Maslanka, Brenden Morrissey, Jeremy Reid, Derrick Calta, Sean Spence and Adam Bartinelli, who paved the way for Cody Fortney (22 carries, 116 yards) to chew up major yards and Petek to dance into the end zone.
“It was a great second opportunity and Coach always says, ‘You can’t waist your chances,’” said Petek, who also scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter. “You definitely saw that tonight. We came together, played tough and got it done on that last drive. I was proud of my boys.”
The start of the second half was a different story, as Lutheran West came up with an 11-play, clock-draining drive to get to the Bucks 4.
From there, the Buckeye defense stuffed running back Adam Felten (17 carries, 95 yards, TD) and quarterback Nick Knudsen on two of the final three plays, which included Petek recording a tackle for loss on Knudsen’s keeper to the outside.
“Buckeye did a tremendous job,” Longhorns coach Dave Stupka said. “They beat us in all three phases of the game. They outcoached us, they outplayed us and they deserved to win. It’s as simple as that.
“Our guys played hard. I don’t fault their effort, but Buckeye deserved to win tonight.”
The teams traded scores early. After Petek’s 1-yard keeper, the Longhorns responded three plays later with a 62-yard scamper by Felten.
That was the only mistake the Bucks defense made all night, as kicker George Rusinko booted a 35-yard field goal late in the first half. It was set up by a key pass plays from Petek to sophomore Trevor Thome, who finished with three catches for 60 yards and added 46 more on the ground.
“When we came out in that third quarter, they were grinding us,” Pinzone said. “We couldn’t get off the field for a while. A lot of our guys go both ways and we were getting gassed.
“But somehow, someway, we got to the fourth quarter, got a little water in them, told them to calm down and we did a great job.”
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.
Buckeye 17, Lutheran West 7
BUCKEYE` 7 3 0 7 —17
LUTHERAN WEST 7 0 0 0 — 7
B — Christian Petek 1 run (George Rusinko kick), 6:14.
LW — Adam Felton 62 run (Josh Cales kick), 4:44.
B — George Rusinko 35 field goal, :38.
B — Petek 5 run (Rusinko kick), 1:59.
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