Clayton Uber finally got the chance to raise his hands in jubilation and not have his celebration cut short due to a penalty.
Uber clinched Nixa’s 21-14 victory versus Carl Junction on Friday by picking off a Bulldogs pass at the Eagles’ 25-yard line with 1:10 to play.
Earlier in the night, Uber had a touchdown during a return on his first interception waved off due to a penalty. Also, he was flagged for pass interference on a play in which he felt he made a nice deflection.
But on his final play, no flags.
“I really wanted a varsity touchdown, so that was a little upsetting,” Uber said. “But it didn’t mater. I put my team in a good position to score and we punched it in. That’s all that matters.
“On the pass interference against me, I thought the ball was already there, but they called it,” he said.”I blocked that play out and went for the ball (on his second pick).”
With Carl Junction (2-4) looking for a tying score, Bulldogs quarterback Drew Patterson threw into a double-coverage and Uber leaped over the intended receiver for the ball.
“The (receiver) was coming from the strong side in our (zone) pass coverage and I didn’t have any threat coming toward me so I bailed,” Uber said. “I saw the quarterback’s eyes drift toward the middle of the field and I got back. I knew I had a chance to make a play. I got over the top of the receiver and made a lucky play.
“We had a couple ideas where they were going with the ball from routes we had seen earlier in the game,” he added. “Also, I had studied a lot on them. I watched all their pass routes from their last three games. I was hoping the ball would come my way.”
Linebacker Alex Wentz also had an interception for Nixa
“We went into the game tonight with only one interception on the season,” coach Rich Rehagen said, referring to a Uber pick in Week Two at Republic. “To get three tonight was awesome. Clayton did a great job figuring out exactly where he needed to be and made great plays.”
Nixa (3-3) rallied from a 14-0 deficit to put up all 21 of its points in the second quarter on a trio of touchdown passes thrown by quarterback Reid Potts.
“It was a great comeback,” Rehagen said. “Our guys hung in there. We started getting momentum and that second quarter really went our way.”
A 77-yard touchdown pass form Potts to wideout Evann Long triggered the Eagles’ comeback.
“I saw Reid scramble toward me and saw no one was behind me, so I turned upfield and he put it where it had to be,” Long said. “We’ve been working on that in practice, with him scrambling and me finding an open spot and we connected on it tonight.”
Long, who also had a 28-yard touchdown catch, finished with seven receptions for 165 yards. Potts was 13-of-18 passing for 202 yards.
“They were crowding the box so we had a to get the ball to a few receivers,” Potts said. “The game plan from the coaches was great and our offense executed. It was a great night for our O-line, receivers and running backs.”
Wentz was somewhat of an unexpected participant in the passing game. He caught a two-yard touchdown pass with :09 left in the first half.
“They were trying to take Evann away,” Rehagen said. “It was a great catch by Alex. Those are tailback swings when you’re running away from the ball coming to you, that’s a tough catch.”
“I got my head up at the right time and got it,” Wentz said. “I think I’m better under pressure when I’m trying to catch the ball.”
Nixa’s defense shut out Carl Junction in the second half.
Nixa’s offense helped by taking nearly five minutes off the clock late in the fourth quarter, giving the Bulldogs only a minute-plus to try to go 60 yards for a tying touchdown.
Rehagen called running back Ramone Green’s number on a 3rd-and-3 during the Eagles’ final possession. Green got the first down, allowing Nixa to take an additional three minutes off the clock.
“That meant a lot to me,” Green said. “I put in a lot of work, just like everybody else. We worked our butts off to win this game.”
Nixa 21, Carl Junction 14
Carl Junction 7 7 0 0 - 14
Nixa 0 21 0 0 - 21
CJ - Stewart 32 pass from Patterson (Vogel kick)
CJ - Patterson 5 run (Vogel kick)
N - Long 77 pass from Potts (Anello kick)
N - Long 28 pass from Potts (Anello kick)
N - Wentz 2 pass from Potts (Anello kick)