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Heading into the 2011 football season a lot of the accolades and talk for Georgetown College was about the prolific offense returning. But, Saturday in Ottawa, Kan., it was a stellar defensive effort as the Tigers (1-0) escaped with a 21-19 win.
Ottawa University (0-2) opened the second half with a 10-play scoring drive. Georgetown then blocked its second extra point to maintain a 21-19 lead.
On the ensuing drive, the Tigers fumbled the ball. Ottawa recovered at the GC 1-yard line.
This was the first of two goalline stances for Georgetown's defense in the second half. The Tigers stood OU up three straight plays and then blocked the field goal attempt.
GC's offense returned to the field with the ball on its 6-yard line. After a three and out series, Cody Parker was forced to punt from his own endzone.
Ottawa was on the move again, starting at the Tiger 35. Two plays into that drive, the Braves were perched on the GC 2-yard line. Another three plays and no score forced OU's coach Kent Kessinger to roll the dice on fourth and goal, not wanting to bring out the kicking team once again.
Bobby Adamson put the ball in the air and the Tigers intercepted it for another squelched offensive attempt.
Georgetown's offense came to life, driving into Brave territory for the first time in the second half. It stalled and the teams traded punts, pushing the game late into the fourth quarter. GC had the ball and appeared on its way to a two-score lead.
Back-to-back dropped passes by Rashad Mason ended that drive, however, and gave the Braves hope. OU slowly worked the ball up the field with a mixture of rushes and short passes. The hope vanished on the eighth play of the drive when Clarence Anderson fumbled. Georgetown recovered with 2:53 remaining.
The Tigers attempted to drain the clock, but were forced to punt after a false start had them facing a fourth and six. Ottawa was down to its last gasp and despite a few completions, could not convert and overcome the two-point deficit.
In the first half, the Tiger offense seemed to be living up to its preseason billing. On the opening drive of the game, GC had back-to-back shaky plays to set up a third and 16. But, Kaelin Ammons found Mason for a big gain. In a gutsy move on the road, GC coach Bill Cronin decided to go for it on fourth and short. GC converted and took the ball down for a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Zach Sowder.
Both offenses stalled at that point, but Ottawa seemed sure to knot it up early in the second half with a first and goal on the six. Shane Gimzo carried the ball into the endzone, but fumbled the ball before crossing the line. GC recovered and responded with three straight rushing plays, the last a 65-yard scamper for Sowder and a 14-0 advantage.
Cronin's special teams had a mix bag of plus and minuses in the season-opener. They blocked two extra points and a field goal attempt, but too many men on the field when Ottawa was punting deep in its territory eventually led to the Braves first score. Adamson to Anderson made it a 14-6 game late in the second quarter.
Two series later, the Tigers responded with a 5-play, 44-yard drive for a 23-yard Blake Naylor touchdown from Ammons.
Then came the next special team breakdown as Anderson took the kickoff 85-yards for a touchdown and a 21-13 game.
Georgetown tried two plays and got nowhere, so it ran out the clock and took the eight-point advantage into the halftime.
Ammons finished the game 16-for-30 for 208 yards and one touchdown. He spread it around to 10 different receivers, none with more than three catches. Randy Doss' one grab netted a receiving high 39 yards, while Chris Gohman and Brandon Burdette had 27 yards each and Naylor and Coty Minnis each had 23.
GC's ground game garnered 171 yards on 41 attempts. Sowder led the charge with nine carries for 80 yards and two scores.
OU's Adamson was 31-for-47 for 392 yards and two scores. His favorite target was Anderson, who had 13 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown.