PEKIN — It was the rivalry game Sigourney-Keota head coach Jared Jensen called “a season-killer” for his team last year.
Walking off their own field last September after being run over at times and physically humbled in the end by Pekin in a 25-13 loss to the Panthers, the “Backyard Brawl” led the Savage Cobras looking as down as team could be just two weeks into the high school football season.
All Sigourney-Keota did from there was qualify for the postseason and nearly knock off a district champ on the road in the opening round of playoffs.
After last Friday’s “Skunk River” rematch with the Panthers, who knows what this season has in store for the Savage Cobras, who were anything but downtrodden when Friday’s game was over.
Not only did S-K get sweet revenge against Pekin, they did it in one of the most memorable ways imaginable. After driving all the way down to the Panthers’ 8-yard-line with four seconds to go, a potential 25-yard game-winning field goal attempt by Colby Kerkove turned into a mad dash to the end zone by sophomore back-up quarterback Blaine Gretter when the snapped bounced back into his hold.
Gretter didn’t hesitate, picking up the ball and making a run for the left corner with time having run out on a 21-21 tie. Gretter quick reflexes and quick sprint allowed him to get over the goal line to complete a play Sigourney-Keota fans won’t soon forget as the eight-yard touchdown run gave the Savage Cobras an unbelievable walk-off 27-21 win.
“When that ball hit the ground in front of me, I knew I had to take off,” Gretter said. “It just kind of worked out. I just took off and tried to get as far as I could at that point.”