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Longhorns top Otis, move on in playoffs

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

OTIS -- Kensington-Thunder Ridge High School did something that hadn't been accomplished in 2012.

The Longhorns stopped Otis-Bison's star senior running back Dylan Wissman.

Thunder Ridge's ironclad defense contained the Cougars all night and forced five turnovers that led to the Longhorns' 28-18 victory on the road Saturday.

"The defense played extremely well," Thunder Ridge coach Jerry Voorhees said. "We really challenged the boys this week. We had to come out and out hit these guys. That's a very physical team on the other side."

Wissman finished with 72 yards rushing on 22 carries and was held out of the end zone for the first time this season. He also only had seven yards receiving and lost two fumbles.

"I'm sure that's what their whole plan was all week, keying on No. 2 (Wissman)," Otis-Bison coach Travis Starr said. "He's been a great running back for us. In the open field, he has the ability to make people miss, but they kept him contained inside."

Wissman, who averaged 179.8 rushing yards per game and 4.4 rushing touchdowns per game, had never run for fewer than 100 yards this season.

"He's probably the best back we've seen in two years," Voorhees said. "... We knew he was the guy they wanted to get the football to."

The Cougars didn't help themselves by turning the ball over five times -- four via fumbles and one via an interception.

Thunder Ridge had four fumbles, but only lost one.

"The ball didn't bounce our way, especially in the first half," Starr said. "If you lay the ball on the ground with a great team like that, obviously they are going to put some of them in the end zone."

Wissman might have warranted the most attention heading into the matchup, but it was Thunder Ridge senior fullback Trevor Lowe who stole the show Saturday, rushing 26 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns.

"Trevor Lowe just plays so hard, and the line came off the ball," Voorhees said.

Otis-Bison hung with Thunder Ridge throughout the game, despite turning the ball over five times.

Otis-Bison lost three fumbles in the first half, but Thunder Ridge only led 12-6 at halftime. The Longhorns started to separate themselves in the third and fourth quarters, twice gaining a two-score lead, but each time, the Cougars responded with a score.

"They were definitely the hardest team we've played," Lowe said. "It was good. That Wissman guy ran really hard, and that No. 45 (Cougar senior lineman Samuel Higgason) is a big dude. Kade (Dennis) had a lot of trouble blocking him, but (Dennis) handled him throughout the night."

Junior quarterback Kole Urban did all the scoring for Otis-Bison, finishing with 27 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and completing 4 of 8 passes for 55 yards. However, Urban also lost two fumbles and threw the game's lone interception.

Though the Cougars made mistakes, Urban said he was proud of the way his team responded.

"No one gave up," Urban said. "I'm proud to say that was our last game of this year."

Thunder Ridge got on the scoreboard first. Lowe broke a run on fourth-and-one up the middle and ran it 26 yards for a touchdown.

Otis-Bison responded two possessions later, as Urban broke a 26-yard touchdown run.

In the second quarter, Thunder Ridge junior QB Garrett Krueger completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to junior Dalton Miner.

On the opening drive of the third quarter, sophomore tailback Trent Rietzke took a toss to the left and sprinted 37 yards for a score.

Otis-Bison capped a 28-yard drive with a 1-yard dive by Urban. However, Thunder Ridge responded immediately, as Lowe broke a 36-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-two.

Down 28-12 with five minutes remaining, Otis-Bison drove 50 yards and capped it with a 2-yard touchdown dive by Urban. The Cougars need a 2-point conversion to make it a one-score game, but Wissman's run up the middle was stopped a yard short.

"It was a hard-fought ball game between two great teams," Starr said. "Someone has to lose in the end, and unfortunately it was us.SDRq