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Tigers shock Panthers with fourth-quarter rally

Sam Martin/DCN Jake Sloss caught a 24-yard, game-winning touchdown to complete A-D-M’s improbable comeback against Creston/Orient-Macksburg. The Tigers scored twice in the final 42 seconds to beat the Panthers 36-35.Buy Photo
Sam Martin/DCN Jake Sloss caught a 24-yard, game-winning touchdown to complete A-D-M’s improbable comeback against Creston/Orient-Macksburg. The Tigers scored twice in the final 42 seconds to beat the Panthers 36-35.

A few words of advice: Don’t give up on A-D-M.

The Tigers scored two touchdowns in the final 40 seconds to stun visiting Creston/Orient-Macksburg 36-35 on Sept. 20.

“A few people left early,” coach Mike Whisner said. “The last time this happened, I said, ‘You might want to stay until the last second’s gone, because you never know what we’re going to do.’”

Whisner’s advice was as prudent as ever last week, and the fans who stuck around saw an unbelievable finish that lifted the Tigers to a 3-1 record, and a 2-0 mark in Class 3A District 1 play. Jake Sloss caught a 24-yard, game-winning touchdown pass from Kolby Whisner with 12.9 seconds left. He fell to the ground, in between two Panther defenders, and still hauled in the catch.

“I started going to the ground and it just dropped right in my basket, so I grabbed it with one hand,” Sloss said. “I couldn’t believe I caught it. It was the best catch I’ve ever had.”

A-D-M had pulled within one score when Grant Goeden scored on a short passing pattern with 42.5 seconds left. With Creston/O-M (3-1) lined up on one side for the ensuing onside kick, A-D-M kicker Jake Hutzell switched over and kicked with his left foot to the opposite side, where it glanced off a defender and was recovered just inside the sideline by Joe Sloss.

“We were pumped,” Jake Sloss said. “Everyone was going crazy, but we knew we had to get that last touchdown to win it.”

The Tigers benefited from a fourth-down, pass-interference call with 20 seconds left that gave them a new set of downs to work with. Kolby Whisner and Jake Sloss connected on the next play to complete the comeback and create a memorable finish for the Tiger faithful.

“Our main theme is teamwork this year,” Mike Whisner said. “The kids just kept playing and kept chipping away to win the game, making the plays when we needed to make them.”

The Tigers led 14-3 after the first quarter. Kolby Whisner and Tate Jensen connected for a 74-yard catch-and-run score on the team’s first play of the game, and Jensen followed that up with a 26-yard interception return. Goeden punched the ball into the end zone from 3 yards out in the second quarter, but C/O-M added three touchdowns and led 25-21 at the break.

Hutzell’s 23-yard field goal in the third quarter pulled the Tigers within one, but the Panthers answered with a 45-yard touchdown catch by Maxx Walters. They added a 30-yard gield goal by Conner Pals in the fourth quarter after melting 6 minutes off the clock, leaving A-D-M with a 35-24 deficit and just 4:49 to work with.

Kolby Whisner completed 14-of-28 passes for251 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Jensen caught four passes for 125 yards, Goeden caught four passes and Jake Sloss three. Joe Sloss added a 44-yard reception.

Darold Baker had two second-half interceptions, including one on the game’s final play, and finished 10 tackles. Zach Ostendorf had a team-high 11 stops, and Isaac Norton added nine.

A-D-M travels west to Council Bluffs on Friday for a district game against Lewis Central. The Titans are 1-3 after a 42-0 win at Atlantic last week.

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