Pressure kick rallies West Lafayette
August 29, 2012West Lafayette Jr.-Sr. High School
The missed extra point was on Brody Forbes’ mind, but a chance for redemption inched closer as West Lafayette slowly maneuvered its way into scoring position late in Friday’s matchup against Tri-West.
Forbes wanted to shine in the moment, embracing the opportunity of potentially kicking a game winning field goal. The left-footed Forbes delivered, hitting a 27-yard field goal with 23.1 seconds to play as the Class 3A third-ranked Red Devils posted a 9-7 victory at Straley Field.
“I always like to relish the pressure,” Forbes said. “It’s part of being an athlete, part of being a human. You can’t shy away from it. You just have to kick it and hope it goes through and trust your teammates.”
It was more of his teammates trusting the 5-foot-7, 144-pound Forbes, who missed an extra point after the Red Devils’ first-quarter touchdown. Those same teammates lifted Forbes in the air following the game-winning kick.
“He came up big,” said junior defensive lineman Jade Doty, who brought pressure against Tri-West quarterback Jake Hendershot all night, finishing with 3 ½ sacks.
Told of Forbes’ desire to be in the pressure situation, coach Marshall Overley smiled.
“That’s good. I want a player who says I want the ball when the cards are down,” Overley said. “That’s the type of player you want. When you see him and all the kids lifting him up ... that’s just dream.”
A dream that nearly turned into a sour beginning to the 2012 season. Three turnovers, including a second-quarter fumble by quarterback Parker Ronchetto that led to Hendershot’s 4-yard touchdown run, almost ruined the season opener.
But Ronchetto and junior running back Everett Gorup put the Red Devils in position to win. Starting at its 22-yard line with 7:24 to play, Ronchetto and Gorup carried West Lafayette on the 15-play drive to the Tri-West 11.
Gorup had 10 carries for 38 yards and gave the Red Devils a first down four times. Ronchetto, who scored on a 1-yard sneak less than one minute into the game to give his team a 6-0 lead, completed two passes for 19 yards.
“As we were driving, the offense did a great job of keeping the ball,” Forbes said. “We grinded it out. As the clock was winding down and we were getting close to the end zone, it might have to come down to me and special teams. That’s what happened. When the pressure is on, you just have to accept it and kick it.”
Credit West Lafayette’s defense against Hendershot, who was 8 of 28 passing for 89 yards. Senior Quinton Skibinski also joined Doty in the Bruins’ backfield, applying plenty of pressure.
“We knew they were going to pass the ball a lot and the quarterback is a big boy,” Doty said of the sophomore. “He’s hard to take down. Once we got in there, he was getting a little flustered and we were able to take him down and the secondary was able to hold the receivers down.”
Overley said the Red Devils were thwarted coming up the middle and opted to bring pressure off the edge. The Bruins produced only 33 second-half yards.
“Once we were stuffed up the middle, we had to rely on the outside,” Overley said. “With that quarterback, he’s strong and doesn’t go down. But Doty is a high-motor kid and being able to come out and get a hold of (Hendershot) was key.”