With five minutes left in the game, Beloit Turner star quarterback Kenny Draeving busted free of the Big Foot defense to rattle off a 60-plus-yard run to put the Trojans into prime scoring position deep in the red zone.
At least, he would have put his team in prime scoring position if the Chiefs defense had not caught Draeving from behind. The defense ripped the ball out of the runner’s hands just before he hit the ground for a fumble that neutralized one of Beloit’s only touchdown chances of the second half.
That one play best sums up Big Foot’s 42-21 road win Aug. 30 over Beloit Turner, as Draeving had a typically solid performance. But seven turnovers by the Trojans, two of which Big Foot returned for touchdowns, were the key to the Chiefs’ upset win.
If you ask Big Foot head coach Mike Welden, though, the majority of those seven Turner miscues showed more about the Chiefs defense’s tenacity than Beloit having a bad offensive day.
“I’m not saying we’re going to get 6 or 7 every game, but the sheer passion that they were pursuing the ball with, that’s why that happened,” Welden said. “I think it is something you can practice and have it become a craft.”
However, things were not always peachy for Big Foot in the game.
The Chiefs could not move the ball consistently enough to score in the first quarter, while Beloit Turner was able to string a couple nice drives together and cap them off with touchdown passes by Draeving to lead 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
While Big Foot did not play poorly in the first quarter per se, they also were not playing to the best of their ability.
“Nothing went wrong in the first quarter, but nothing really went that right either,” Welden said.
Once the second quarter began, though, the Chiefs firmly controlled the game.
Just 53 seconds into the quarter, Big Foot quarterback Basil Demco threw a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage to running back Cole Vance, who proceeded to weave his way through the Turner defense 53 yards for a touchdown to make it a 14-7 game.
Only 24 seconds after that, defensive back Bryce Peterson scooped up a fumble for a 49-yard defensive touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
Two and a half minutes later, Big Foot got another fumble recovery for a touchdown, as defensive back Jack Gillingham scooped up a loose ball and took it to the house for a 32-yard score to put the Chiefs ahead 21-14.
With three straight scores in such a short period of time, it gave the Chiefs a level of confidence that allowed them to grab the lead and never look back.
“Once we get going, it’s hard to stop us. Once we got rolling, it was game over,” Gillingham said.
After Gillingham’s score, Big Foot went for a surprise onside kickoff, which they successfully recovered. And a few plays later, Gillingham caught a 28-yard touchdown from Demco to give him a score on both offense and defense in the game.
On Beloit Turner’s first play of their next drive, the Chiefs recovered yet another fumble. Then, with 4:49 left until halftime, Big Foot receiver Owen Martin scored on a 35-yard catch to put the road team ahead 35-14.
Over the course of 6:18 in that dominant second quarter, Big Foot scored 15 more points than they did in the entire 48-minute opening week game.
In the second half, both offenses were a bit more methodical, with sustained clock-chewing drives that led to very little scoring.
Draeving picked up his third touchdown pass of the game halfway through the third quarter, and Big Foot’s only score of the second half came at the 5:20 mark of the fourth quarter on an 11-yard pass from Demco to Martin.
Beloit’s lone bright spot was the play of Draeving, who threw for all three of the team’s touchdowns, as well as having a hand in 305 of the team’s 394 total yards.
Big Foot’s quarterback had a pretty solid day in his own right, even though he is just a sophomore compared to Draeving’s senior standing. Demco passed for 154 yards and four touchdowns, tacking on an additional 15 rushing yards.
After a shakier showing in his first game under center the week before, Demco looked far more confident in the backfield in the season’s second contest. Part of that confidence came from the youngster leaning on his veteran teammates.
“I can’t give myself any credit. It was all the team — all them. These guys make me better, make me feel comfortable,” Demco said.
Not only was the victory the first win of the season for the Chiefs, the win was the first of head coach Mike Welden’s career at Big Foot, after joining the program in the offseason.
Big Foot will look to make it two wins in a row on Sept. 6 when they host East Troy for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Trojans look like one of the Rock Valley Conference’s best teams so far this year, establishing the biggest margin of victory through two weeks, with 56 points scored and only 16 allowed.