Boys Varsity Football
For the second time in four weeks, Dan Ricksy would stand near midfield after a victory and say he’d just played in the most fun football game of his life.
Reminded that he already said that after Week 1’s win at Twin Lakes, Ricksy responded, “Hopefully next week (at Kokomo), I can say the same thing again.”
The Lafayette Jeff senior is enjoying football like never before, but especially so on Friday night when he had a game for the ages in a thrilling 54-50 victory at Harrison.
Quickly becoming the favorite target for quarterback Devon Colonis, Ricksy made his quarterback’s trust in him warranted with 13 receptions for 285 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner with 54.9 seconds left.
“We have a feeling of when a big play is about to come,” Ricksy said. “(Colonis) came up to me after I dropped a two-point (conversion while trailing 50-48) and said, ‘I guarantee we’re going to come right back to you and you are going to make a big play.’ ”
Ricksy’s unofficial total is just six yards shy of Justin Russell’s school-record 291 receiving yards against Richmond in 2003.
Yet, Ricksy deflected the hero talk to his teammates. He praised the offensive line. He said the running game, led by Bernard Celestin’s 143 yards, was what won the game.
“If we can continue to have a run game like this, it’s going to be ridiculous,” Ricksy said.
Most importantly, he pointed to a defensive play on a night where defensive plays were scarce.
With 2:11 remaining, linebacker Devin Mickle forced a fumble in the backfield with Harrison closing in on the red zone, leading 50-48 and attempting to put the game out of reach.
“Basically, we just needed to win and we needed that big play to make the stop,” Mickle said. ‘We played our hearts out and we got it.”
Ricksy said he was certain after the defense gave Jeff an opportunity to steal the game, the Bronchos would capitalize.
Mickle’s forced fumble was recovered by Broncho senior defensive back Leon Hall at the Jeff 33. Eight plays later, including a 30-yard reception by Ricksy on third-and-21, Colonis found Ricksy in the left corner of the end zone.
“We saw the offense putting points on the board and we knew we had to do something,” Hall said. “Devin Mickle came through with the nice hit. We got the turnover and the offense came out and did their thing. It was amazing, man.”
The Raiders (2-2) were stout offensively as well, led by a big night from sophomore running back Dawson Dahnke.
Dahnke caught seven passes for 146 yards and rushed for 177 yards on 21 carries, scoring a combined four touchdowns. Quarterback JDan Sturgeon hit several big plays, throwing touchdowns to Dahnke, Adam Sturgeon, Kameron Crooks and Joseph Fraseur. He finished with 290 yards and five touchdowns.
That production was not enough to please Raiders coach Terry Peebles, whose defense also played most of the game without senior linebacker Dakota Manion. Manion suffered a possible ligament tear in his knee during the first quarter.
“Offensively, there were times we did good things, but to be honest, on the last drive if we hold onto the ball and don’t fumble just a normal handoff, we win the game,” Peebles said. “We have 10 seniors starting on defense and we gave up 54 points.”
The Bronchos (3-1) overcame two early fumbles deep in their own territory and a drive that stalled at the 2.
Celestin, Colonis and Darian Collins scored in the first half before Colonis hit Ricksy down the sideline for a 63-yard touchdown just before halftime to cut Harrison’s lead to 35-28. Celestin’s second touchdown run early in the third quarter tied the score.
“It was a heck of a football game. I am sure it was great for the spectators,” Bronchos coach Brian Moore said. “In the end, you’ve just got to find a way to win the football game. We did. I don’t know, I am still in shock.”