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TF South football falters in final game ahead of playoffs

Hard-fought loss to Hillcrest may result in challenging first round match-up

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (October 22, 2021) – In the final contest of the regular season, TF South lost a barn burner game to the Hillcrest Hawks, with a controversial fourth down call late in the fourth quarter that sealed TFS’ fate. TFS will now enter the playoffs with a 6-3 record, and may face a difficult challenger in the first round on either Friday or Saturday next week.

The Memorial Junior High Band joined with the TFS band to play the National Anthem before Friday night’s final game of the regular season. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
The usually red TFS logo in the middle of the field was painted pink in honor of October being breast cancer awareness month. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

First half

TF South scored a touchdown and a successful PAT on the first drive of the game, with senior stalwart Ernest Temple running for 60 yards into the end zone. Hillcrest quickly struck back, returning the subsequent kick-off for a touchdown. After a failed PAT, the score was 7-6 favoring TFS.

Senior quarterback Jacob Urdiales receives guidance from the sideline as the rain lightly falls Friday night. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

With 51 seconds left in the half, TFS scored again when senior quarterback Jacob Urdiales found senior Ethan Pryor for an 8-yard reception. The halftime score was 14-6.

Coaches — dressed in pink for breast cancer awareness month — congratulate junior Ethan Pryor following his touchdown reception. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
TFS cheerleaders and dance squad members sported pink accessories for breast cancer awareness. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
The TFS band and flag team performed during halftime. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Second half

To even the score, Hillcrest started the second half scoring with a touchdown and successful two-point conversion, making the game tied at 14.

TF South punched back, however, when Ernest Temple twisted his way into the end zone on a two-yard run, making the game 21-14 after the successful PAT.

Senior Ernest Temple weasels his way into the end zone for a third quarter touchdown. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

The offensive pendulum quickly swung back in the Hawks’ direction, as the team scored a touchdown and attempted a two-point conversion. The try was nearly successful but the football bounced off of the receiver, making the score 21-20.

Junior Brandon Woods lines up before the snap during Friday night’s game vs. Hillcrest. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Hillcrest scored again with 4:32 left in the game, putting TFS down by five points — 26-21.

With the game on the line, TFS started its campaign down the field and faced a fourth down. Urdiales threw a pass to Pryor, who ran toward the sideline and initially appeared to get a first down. The officials said he came up short of the marker, however, and despite TFS’ profuse protestations, Hillcrest retained possession with just minutes remaining in the game.

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TFS coach Bob Padjen pleads his case to the head official following a controversial fourth down ruling in the fourth quarter. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

On a final fourth down play with eight seconds left on the clock, Hillcrest ran backwards into their own end zone in an effort to run out the clock. The play resulted in a safety with 1.4 seconds remaining. Down 26-23, TFS had one final chance to score in the form of a kick-off return. The ball was not fielded cleanly, however, and the tight game ended with a tackle near the TFS goal line. The final score was 26-23.

Stats and next week

The primary offensive engine for TFS Friday night was the running game, which gathered 211 yards — 154 of which were earned by Temple. Urdiales was the sole passer for TF South, and threw for 66 yards, going 10/17 and throwing no interceptions.

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Ernest Temple turns to run with the ball after pulling down a catch. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

TF South notched 223 total yards after penalties.

Next weekend starts the playoffs, and TF South will learn their match-up in the coming day or two. Having a 6-3 record, it’s likely the team will be paired with a team with a better record, and TFS will have to play on the road. Next week’s game will either be on Friday or Saturday.

TF South is located at 18500 Burnham Avenue in Lansing.

Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.