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Pirates’ prize: a rematch

Prairie to play for state title Friday

Prairie senior Jacob Stubbers set up the tying score with this play during the fourth quarter of Prairie’s 1AD1 semifinal win over Oakley last Friday night at the Kibbie Dome. Stubbers, who totaled 142 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown along with a 65-yard receiving touchdown, leveled the score at 36-36 after PHS fell behind during the third quarter, after he was brought down just outside the endzone on this play.

Photo by David Rauzi
Prairie senior Jacob Stubbers set up the tying score with this play during the fourth quarter of Prairie’s 1AD1 semifinal win over Oakley last Friday night at the Kibbie Dome. Stubbers, who totaled 142 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown along with a 65-yard receiving touchdown, leveled the score at 36-36 after PHS fell behind during the third quarter, after he was brought down just outside the endzone on this play.



— After Oakley’s main weapon, Chandler Jones, put the Prairie boys on notice early in the 1AD1 semifinal last Friday night, Nov. 10, PHS quarterback Spencer Schumacher and running back Jacob Stubbers notified the Hornets the Pirates also had come to the Kibbie Dome fully armed.

Neither side retreated, and both allowed quite a few more points than they might have liked during a 42-36 shootout.

“We started off pretty good, but we fumbled the ball,” Prairie head coach Ryan Hasselstrom said. “After that we took over and did a pretty good job offensively. When we were up 22-8, the wheels came off.”

Prairie prevailed in the end, so this Friday night, Nov. 17, the Pirates will have a chance to avenge the only loss they’ve suffered this fall.

The outcome remained in doubt until late in the fourth quarter.

Schumacher had long since scored the opening touchdown. Stubbers had run in the two-point try, and Jones had leveled the score at 8-8 with an 83-yard kickoff return.

Schumacher and Stubbers had connected on a 65-yard pass play, and Caleb McWilliams had taken another of Schumacher’s throws 46 yards to the end zone.

Jones had kept Oakley in the game, and after McWilliams had run in a four-yarder, Oakley had scored three consecutive touchdowns.

The Hornets had led by a touchdown, 36-28, at the third quarter turn.

The prestige was all Prairie’s.

Sophomore Owen Anderson robbed Oakley twice late in the game: he forced and recovered Jones’ fumble early in the fourth, and he picked off Jones’ pass late in the quarter.

“Those were big turnovers,” Hasselstrom said. “He stripped the ball from that kid around the 25 yard line, and then he had an interception inside of the 20 a couple drives later.”

Anderson was also in on a handful of other key defensive plays late in the game: After Stubbers scored the equalizer — which followed from the fumble — Anderson and Carson Schmidt booked key tackles, forcing a punt.

When Prairie faced a fourth-and-long near midfield, Schumacher threw to Anderson, who was stopped a couple of yards short of the sticks.

On the ensuing drive, after Oakley committed a holding penalty during a no-gain run (with Stubbers on the tackle), Anderson’s interception gave the PHS offense its decisive spark.

After Schumacher barrelled into the end zone with what proved the game-winning touchdown, Jayce Huling brought down Jones on third-and-four.

Oakley then had to use their timeouts defensively, but could not keep Schumacher, Stubbers and McWilliams from running out the clock.

In total, the Pirates piled up 398 offensive yards, including Schumacher’s seven completions for 144 yards and two passing touchdowns. (He also ran for two short touchdowns.)

In total, Stubbers ran for one touchdown, caught another and accumulated 142 rushing yards. McWilliams ran for one score and 60 yards.

Defensively, Anderson finished with seven solo tackles including two behind the line of scrimmage.

Coming — Prairie (8-1) will return to the Kibbie Dome this Friday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff against Whitepine League rival Genesee (8-0). The Pirates and the Bulldogs have both won eight in a row, with PHS having lost only the season opener 36-6 on Sept. 1 at Genesee.

“Oakley is maybe more undisciplined defensively than Genesee but physically, they have the same thing Genesee has...It was probably about even as far as size as what we’re going to see.”

Due to injuries throughout the season, the Pirates weren’t sure if they would get another shot at Genesee, but “in the back of our mind, obviously we’d hoped we’d get another chance,” Hasselstrom said.



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