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Many knew the final game of the season for the Vandalia Community High School football squad was going to be a close one, and probably with the margin of victory being one score. The game lived up to its hype, however the Vandals were on the wrong side of the ledger when the buzzer sounded, as they dropped to Gillespie, 28-22, in Friday night’s matchup.
It all started in the first quarter, as Gillespie’s Zach Reiniesch took the ball in on a keeper from 7 yards out to give the Miners and early 6-0 lead; however the two-point conversion was no good.
Two possessions later, Vandalia came back, with 1:10 left in the first, as Matthew Hagy telegraphed Carson Ruot, for a 61-yard pass to tie the game, followed by a good point after attempt by Cody Stewart, to give the Vandals the advantage, 7-6.
On the possession change, the Vandal defense held, forcing Gillespie to turn the ball back over, which Vandalia capitalized on, as Hagy danced into the end zone from 3 yards out, and Ruot connected with Nolan White for the conversion, and the home team held the lead, 15-6.Reiniesch connected with Dillon Lewis from 6 yards out, with the conversion successful, as the Miners came back to within 1, 15-14.
It was Hagy who kept the ball with just 3:16 left in the half, taking the ball in from the 30-yard-line, to up the score to 20-14, and Stewart’s kick soared between the uprights, to give the Vandals an eight-point lead headed into the locker room.
Gillespie ran things down to the wire in the final two quarters, scoring within the last minute of each.
With 49.3 left in the third, Reiniesch hit Tanner Whitfield on a 6-yard pass, and in an effort to tie the game, the conversion failed, as the Vandals held on to a two-point lead, 22-20, headed into the final quarter.
As possessions switched in the fourth quarter, and the game within a field goal, it was the Miners who would ultimately take control, as with 52.5 left in the fourth, Reiniesch this time connected with Jake Carter on an 11-yard pass to make the score 26-22. Gillespie decided to go for the two as an extra point success would not be enough if the Vandals scored in the remaining seconds of the game. That conversion was good, as Reiniesch ran the ball in on a keeper, to make the score 28-22.
There were not enough ticks left on the clock, as Vandalia could not move the ball quick enough before the buzzer sounded, and the 2021 season was over.
Vandalia finished with a respectable 4-2 record.
The Vandals had a good night on offense for 312 total yards.
In rushing, Hagy had 13 carries for 65 yards, including two touchdowns. McKinney went 9for 27 yards; Nolan White was 2 for 2 yards, Ruot had one carry for no gain. Andreu Brewer had a carry for a loss of a yard.
In passing, Hagy went 13 for 26 for a total of 219 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
In receiving, Ruot went 4 for 150 yards and one touchdown. Beall had 5 receptions for 53 yards; Connor Ray, 2 for 14 yards, and Dawson McKinney, 2 for 2 yards.
In tackles, Beall had 5 solo takedowns, with 5 assists, one for a two-yard yard. White had 5 solo tackles and 5 assists, one for a yard loss; Ryan Kaiser had 4 solos, 3 assists; Ray, 4 solos; Tiler Worker, 3 solos and 7 assists; Gavin Mouser, 3 solo and 7 assists; D. McKinney, 3 solos, 5 assists; E. McKinney, 3 solos and 5 assists; Brody Hall, 5 assists, Michael Bowles, 4 assists; Ruot, 1 solo and 3 assists; Reid Well, a solo and an assist; Tyler Roman, 2 assists; Hagy, 1 solo; Nick Clark, 1 assist, and Logan Nance, 1 assist.
Ruot also had a 50-yard punt return and one interception.