Swan Valley rallies in the final minutes to defeat Yale 14-13

Swan Valley rallies in the final minutes to defeat Yale 14-13

Alex Grace helped Swan Valley avoid Yale’s upset bid, 14-13. (Jeff Schrier | The Saginaw News File)
By Carron J. Phillips
on November 01, 2013 11:20 p.m.

  • 11/01 – 7:00 PM Football Final
    Saginaw Swan Valley

SAGINAW, MI — Alex Grace’s season was inches away from being over.

The Michigan High School Football Player of the Year Finalist was three minutes away from playing his last game of the year.

But, while facing fourth and third from the 20-yard line, Swan Valley was able to draw Yale offside for a fresh set of downs at the 15.

Three plays later, Alex Grace scored from the 4-yard line to send the Vikings into the District Finals.

“I was just relieved that we had an extra four downs,” Grace said. I was just thinking get as many yards possible, hit the holes hard and score. I knew it was going to be the go-ahead touchdown.”

Grace dominated on his team’s first and final drives of the game, but was shut down throughout most of the night.

“They came ready to play and had 11 guys in the box, but in a mud game like this it’s awful tough to throw the ball,” said Swan Valley Coach Ken Bourbina. We had good blocking and the (offensive) line stepped it up on that last drive, and our fullback did a heck of a job because he springs Alex every week and deserves a lot of credit.”

The Vikings jumped out to an early lead when Grace scored on a 58-yard run on the third play from scrimmage. But the Yale defense continued to made adjustments all night, as they were able to hold Grace to just 22 yards on 10 carries after the opening touchdown.

The Bulldogs then used a long 12-play drive to score as James Fuhrman tied the game at 7 when he scored from the 1-yard line. Fuhrman would then follow that up by scoring from the 10-yard line in the second quarter as the Bulldogs headed to the locker room with a 13-7 lead.

After a scoreless third quarter, both defenses came up with big fourth down stops. But with less than 3 minutes to play, the Yale defensive line made the crucial mistake that ultimately led to the end of their season.

“We try to draw teams offside on occasion, and we were fortunate that they did jump,” Bourbina said. “They got us earlier in the game, and in the playoffs you have to be disciplined all the time. I know their kid probably feels bad that he did it, but it’s just a part of the game and having to perform.”

Fuhrman led the way for Yale with his two touchdowns, while carrying the ball 7 times for 43 yards. Garret Bondy chipped in with 82 yards of his own on 18 carries.

The Vikings went all in with Grace as they only attempted one pass all game that was intercepted. The junior accounted for 187 of his team’s 191 yards of total offense on a field covered in mud.

“I told the kids at the beginning of the night that this was a chance to show what we could do,” Bourbina said. “We haven’t played in the mud all year, and I’m proud of how they stepped up and made the adjustments.”

Swan Valley will face the winner of the Essexville Garber and North Branch game next week.

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