Schmack rescues South Central
CULVER — With South Central needing a come-from-behind effort to defeat Culver Friday night, the legs and arms of senior quarterback Kyle Schmack were fully functional and effective for the Satellites.
But with the host Cavaliers pressing in the closing seconds with a legitimate touchdown threat, the hands of Schmack were even more legitimate.
With the Satellites clinging to a three-point lead with 12 seconds left and Culver at South Central’s 22-yard line, Schmack intercepted a Donovan Ziaja pass at the five-yard line with six seconds left to preserve a thrilling 35-32 victory for the team’s first win of the season.
“Don’t drop it,” said Schmack regarding the big interception. “I knew I needed to catch that one. My receivers have been catching the ball for me, so I had to catch one for them.”
Schmack ran for four touchdowns and passed for a fifth to lead South Central (1-1), which fell behind 14-0 after the first quarter and was still behind 32-20 with under three minutes to play in the game when the Satellites behind Schmack summoned the energy for the thrilling comeback.
“This is two games in a row that our kids didn’t quit being down the entire game,” South Central coach Buzz Schoff said. “Obviously, that speaks volumes of what kind of team we are and what kind of fellows we have on this team. I can’t be any more proud of these 31 dudes I have.
“I will never give up on my guys, and they will never give up on me; however, if we had lost for the second straight week it might have been easy to give up – but these kids don’t give up.”
Deep in its own end with 2:36 left, South Central’s never-give-up effort was fueled by big passes from Schmack to Jake Osburn. He connected with Osburn on a 32-yard toss to put the Satellites in Culver territory at the 47. He connected with Osburn again on a 20-yard toss that landed the team on the two.
From there, Schmack found pay dirt from one yard out and the three-point advantage with just 33 seconds left in regulation.
“It’s crazy,” Schmack said. “I’ve never had a comeback win like that before. It’s another feeling for sure. By the end of the first half we were moving the ball well. I told the guys that we can keep doing this and we can stop them. We finally got those two stops we needed, and they couldn’t stop us after that.
“We just need to start getting ahead early and keep pushing and instead of trailing from behind and having to go fast.”
Schoff said his team had to adjust after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter and hindered further with six penalties for 35 yards in the first 12 minutes.
“With an offense like that (Culver’s), you try to break it down on film and tell them where to lineup. When you come out here, it’s a little different speed. It’s run better than what our scout team can give you. It looks different and it hits faster. When we were down 14 points, they found that out.”
A 7-yard touchdown run by Schmack with 9:59 pulled the Satellites within 14-7. He added a 22-yard running score with 2:30 left in the first half to pull South Central within 20-14 at halftime. Down 26-14, a five-yard touchdown pass from Schmack to Zack Christy pulled the Satellites within six points.
Down 32-20, Schmack’s one-yard rumble with 3:44 left regulation put South Central once again back within six points. The Satellites’ defense did their job shutting Culver down on its next possession, which put the ball back in Schmack’s hands for the eventual game-winning drive.
“Kyle is our guy for a reason,” Schoff said. “Those last two scoring runs were on traps that are not even in our playbook. I ask our offensive coordinator what our best play was, and he said a trap. I just knew we needed to get the ball in the hands of our big guy.”
South Central 33, Culver 30
Kyle Schmack ran for four touchdowns and threw for a fifth.