Prairie Football: High risk yields high reward for Upsala-Swanville

Score and go home.

It was a simple decision, albeit much easier said than done.

On the road in its season opener against a team a class above them, one that had just reached the Section 6AA finals last fall, Upsala-Swanville Area was going for the win.

The Patriots had just worked the ball into the end zone to close within a point at 20-19 with 46 seconds to play.

Despite attempting extra points after its first two scores, head coach Jay Loven decided to play for a two-point conversion and the win.

Tough call?

“No, it wasn’t,” Upsala-Swanville head coach Jay Loven said. “I had told offensive coordinator Adam Gerads if it was still within that seven-point window we would, so to get his best two-point play ready.”

Senior quarterback Tyler Evans connected with senior Jordan Sales on the game-winning pass, giving the Patriots a 21-20 victory at Otter Tail Central, Aug. 28.

The two-point connection came after junior Kyle Lange found the end zone on a 6-yard run.

The Patriots’ first two scores came on touchdown passes from Evans to Sales of 10 and 46 yards.

Evans finished 9-of-11 passing for 110 yards, with Sales grabbing five passes for 70 yards and junior Carter Loven catching three for 29 yards.

Lange carried the ball 30 times for 112 yards and Evans added 52 yards on the ground.

Lange collected a team-high 15 tackles and Zachary Ainali registered 11.

Not bad for a season opener.

“All in all pretty good,” Jay Loven said. “Obviously, you make the first-game mistakes, but overall when you can go on the road and beat a team like OTC with a two-minute drive you’re happy.”