On a cool, windless Friday evening, Ellinwood nearly took the wind out of Goessel’s sails, but the Bluebirds withstood a comeback bid to preserve an exciting 50-48 win.
The Bluebirds scored promptly on their first possession with a Josh Schmidt pass to Jayce Schmidt for a 19-yard touchdown.
Ellinwood tied the score and took the lead 8-6 on the extra points with five minutes left in the first quarter.
Goessel responded when Josh Schmidt was knocked free from a would-be tackler by another Ellinwood player and sprinted 69 yards for a touchdown and a 12-8 Goessel lead.
The Bluebirds trailed 16-13 with 40 seconds to play in the first quarter when Schmidt hit a wide-open Jordan Griffin on the left side. Griffin lost control of the ball around the Ellinwood 5, but came out of a wild scramble with a recovery for a touchdown. Trevor Beisel ran in the extra points and the Bluebirds led 20-16.
Ellinwood retook the lead in the second quarter, 22-20. Miguel Guerrero’s fourth-down plunge kept a Bluebirds drive, setting up a 41-yard Schmidt touchdown run in which he eluded Ellinwood defenders by reversing field twice. Beisel caught a pass for the extra points for a 28-22 lead.
Goessel defenders forced the Eagles to turn over the ball on downs, and the Bluebirds capitalized on a 2-yard pass to Beisel to take a 36-22 lead at halftime.
The Bluebirds kept on rolling in the third quarter. Beisel was on the receiving end of a Schmidt pass and ran untouched for another score as Goessel fans celebrated a 20-point lead.
After Ellinwood scored again, Guerrero danced down the right sideline, shaking off two tackles and sprinting for a 51-yard score. Goessel now led 50-28.
Then the alumni weekend crowd’s endurance was tested as they watched that 22-point lead nearly evaporate.
The Eagles responded with a score, and quickly scored again after Goessel turned the ball over on a fumble at its own 3-yard line.
Ellinwood turned another Goessel fumble into a touchdown early in fourth quarter, drawing within two, 50-48.
Goessel’s offense could not move the ball, forcing the Bluebirds to rely on their defense.
With 2:45 to play in the game, two Goessel defenders hit an Eagles receiver the ball squirted free, and Zach Zogelman recovered the fumble.
The Bluebirds were unable to advance and punted for the second time in the game. Four Eagles passes in the last minute of the game fell incomplete, and Goessel ran out the clock for its fourth win of the season.
The Bluebirds passed for 100 yards and rushed for 334 yards. Josh Schmidt led the defense with 12.5 tackles, followed by Zogleman and Dylan Lindeman with 8.5 and 8 tackles respectively.
The Bluebirds are 4-2 overall and 1-1 in district games. Goessel will be at St. John on Friday.