By Tom Schultz
FOR THE HERALD
ERIE, Ill. —
Fulton opened its 2012 season on the road against Erie/Prophetstown on Friday night.
Momentum was a fragile thing for each team to hold on to, as the lead changed four times through out the game, twice in the last two minutes as Erie/Prophetstown won 25-22.
The Panthers led 19-14 with two minutes to play, but neither team was done scoring.
Fulton quarterback Ethan Jones dropped back to pass, but couldn’t find an open receiver. Taking things into his own hands, Jones saw his opening and dove into the end zone for the 16-yard touchdown to put the Steamers back on top 22-19.
“He really took control, late third quarter and into the fourth quarter,” Fulton coach Patrick Lower said of his quarterback. “I like to see that out of him.”
But the Steamers’ lead did not last long.
Chris Bauer of the Panthers returned the ensuing kickoff in for an 85-yard touchdown.
The Panthers stopped the Steamers on their next possession despite a first down to go on to win 25-22.
Erie/Prophetstown started out the scoring on their first possession, eating up six minutes of clock and scoring on a Nick Williams’ 16-yard touchdown run.
The Steamers turned around right away on their first possession and marched down the field 60 yards for the touchdown bringing them within 1, highlighted by a 31-yard run from Josh Ballard.
The score remained 7-6 in favor of the Panthers for much of the second quarter until with 36 seconds left Jones rolled to his right and threw a deep pass into the back of the end zone to an open Austin Manon for a 27-yard touchdown and 14-7 lead.
Putting their new 4-4 defense to work this year the Steamers got the stop they needed in the last 30 seconds of the half by not allowing a run to gain any yards for the Panthers in the red zone. The Steamers went into halftime with the 14-7 lead and the momentum.
“I thought we would have a little more success in the third quarter after a good kickoff and being able to drive down the field, but we didn’t get that,” Lower said.
The game quickly swayed the other way in the second half as the Steamers turned the ball over on downs to start the third quarter. Erie/Prophetstown followed that by marching the ball down the field into the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown run from Zach Inskeep cutting the score to 14-13 Fulton.
Inskeep wasn’t done. On the next possession with 1:12 left in the third quarter, Inskeep took the lead back for the Panthers on a 50-yard rushing touchdown.
Fulton forced the only turnover of the game when Jones picked off Erie/Prophetstown’s Ethan Howard, which set up Jones’ touchdown run.
ERIE/PROPHETSTOWN 25, FULTON 22
Fulton 6 8 0 8 — 22
Erie/P’town 7 0 12 6 — 25
E/P — Nick Williams 16 run (Brandon McCullough kick), 4:23
F — Ethan Jones 15 run (kick failed), 2:15
F — Austin Manon 27 pass from Jones (Manon run), 0:36
E/P — Zach Inskeep 2 run (kick failed), 5:21
E/P — Inskeep 50 run (Inskeep run), 1:12
F — Jones 16 run (Jones run), 1:57
E/P —Chris Bauer 85 kickoff return (kick failed), 1:44
Rushing — Fulton (26-154), Josh Ballard 5-41, Austin Regenwether 12-54, Ethan Jones 5-48, Austin Manon 3-9, Weston Jones 1-2; Erie/Prophetstown (27-205), Ethan Howard 6-22, Chris Bauer 1-7, Zach Inskeep 8-98, Nick Williams 5-51, Ian Franks 7-27
Passing — Fulton, E. Jones 7-11-0, 81 yards; E/P, Howard 4-10-1, 51 yards
Receiving — Fulton (Regenwether 2-12, TJ Huizenga 1-22, Bryce Holesinger 1-7, Manon 4-45); E/P, (Williams 2-42, Inskeep 1-9).