Stater would more than make up for his miscue. Although he netted only three yards rushing, he caught five passes for 94 yards but most impressively, made nearly 20 tackles.
“We thought Stater was good offensively but we didn’t know he was so good defensively,” said Parsons. “We’d run a counter play and Stater would make the tackle from safety behind the line of scrimmage. I can best describe that Ottumwa team with one word: Wow! They had speed to burn. That team could almost play without a line, that’s how much speed they have in the backfield.”
“I’m so proud of you tonight I don’t know what to say,” said Grouwinkel, whose Bulldogs ran for 210 yards and Dennis Emanuel was 8 of 9 in the air for 155. “Now we’ve got two more games to show we’re the best in the state.”
OHS 28, WAHLERT 27
It was far from perfection but it was the most miraculous comeback in OHS history. Trailing 20-6 after three quarters, the Bulldogs rallied with three fourth quarter touchdowns, the last on the most memorable play in OHS history.
But first, the Bulldogs finally got their second touchdown with 10:53 left on a 30-yard Emanuel to Rocky Ryan pass only to give the score right back on Mel Cushing’s 80-yard run and only 5:12 remained when Wahlert knocked down a fourth down pass at its own 14. That’s when the defense came to the rescue. The Bulldogs quickly forced a punt from the 14 and Cushing’s punt soared straight up, Charlie Axmacher recovering at the 15, from where OHS scored on a 14-yard pass to Ryan and Stater’s one-yard run with 3:25 left.
Again, the OHS defense forced a three and out and this time Cushing’s punt sailed high to the OHS 35, from where Stater fielded the ball, somehow came out of a scrum behind blocks from Ed McHugh, Laris Roberts and Jon Brinegar and dashed 65 yards for a 27-27 tie. Just 56 seconds remained when John O’Dell kick his fourth straight PAT. “I was crying when I kicked off that last time because I was afraid I would miss the extra point,” said O’Dell.