EDDYVILLE — Cory Archer finished off a fourth-quarter hat trick, so to speak, by closing out the playoff chase for Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont in an incredible way. Archer caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Dillon Pigsley with 27 seconds left, giving the Rocket senior his third straight touchdown of the period as EBF rallied from a 14-0 fourth-quarter deficit to secure third place in Class 1A, District 6 with an 18-14 victory at raucous Ike Ryan Field.
West Branch led most of the way in a defensive struggle with the Rocket. The Bears doubled a 7-0 lead on a 40-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter before Archer sparked EBF’s comeback with consecutive touchdown runs from 71 and 26 yards out.
After a missed extra point on the first Archer score, EBF was forced to go for two to tie the game after the second touchdown. That conversion failed, leaving the Rockets behind 14-12 in the dying seconds before Pigsley found Archer for what would be the second straight game-winning last-minute touchdown at home.
“It was an incredible effort by the kids,” an awe-struck Rockets head coach Eric Kellar said after a third consecutive must-win victory by his team. “I didn’t think I could get any more excited after last week, and then we pull this off. The kids just never gave up.”
After beating Wapello two weeks ago on Jeren Glosser fumble recovery in the end zone with seven seconds left and a 24-0 shutout win at Sigourney-Keota, EBF (6-2, 4-2) will now head into next week’s final home game of the regular season knowing that its postseason fate is sealed. The Rockets will be the third seed in 1A, District 6, trailing only undefeated three-time state champion Iowa City Regina and seventh-ranked Wilton.
While the Rockets don’t know who or where they will be playing a week from this Wednesday, next Friday EBF will host undefeated 2A, District 6 champ Albia. The fourth-ranked Blue Demons also secured at least two home playoff games after shutting out Interstate 35, 62-0, Friday in Monroe County.