Mathews had a 13-12 lead at halftime, but turnovers quickly turned the momentum, beginning on the first play of the second half. Pinned deep in its own end, Mathews coughed up the football and Gilmour’s Eddie Kelley recovered the ball on the Mustangs’ 10 yard line. On the next play, Tom Hallal rushed for a 10-yard touchdown to give the Lancers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Hallal, who led Gilmour with 107 yards on 19 carries, knew his team had to capitalize on the opportunities they were given.
“With the great field position our defense gave us we had to take advantage,” said Hallal. “We were fortunate to get the turnovers and we knew we needed to make them pay.”
Gilmour Junior Will O’Brien cited the importance the turnovers played in swinging the momentum to their sideline. “There is nothing in the world like momentum,” said O’Brien. “Getting all the turnovers, the momentum really helped us.”
The mistakes kept coming for Mathews in the third quarter. Another fumble set up Gilmour on the Mustangs’ 34 yard line. It took Gilmour just three plays to turn it into points. Hallal rushed in his third touchdown of the night, this one from 14 yards out to stretch the Lancer lead to 26-13.
On the next Mathews possession, quarterback Lucas Buckner was intercepted by Kevin Komperda and returned it to midfield. This time Gilmour struck through the air, as quarterback Billy Urban threw a 16 yard touchdown pass to Lou Cangelosi.
Aside from creating turnovers, the Lancer defense stepped up its efforts in the second half in containing the Mathews backfield combination of Brad Hughes and Brent Jackson that caused problems for the Lancers in the first half.
Gilmour head coach Bob Spicer made halftime adjustments to stop the Mustang rushing attack.
“We went to an 8 man front and dared them to throw and take away their Jet Series that gave us problems,” said Spicer. “That also helped force the turnovers that were critical for them. We knew they were good rushing the ball and we took that away and they didn’t throw that much and by that time the clock was on our side.”
Spicer was confident with the performance Hallal and the offense put out.
“Our offense is high risk high reward that always tries to put pressure on,” said Spicer. “When we got good field position you could sense it, and we kept putting the pressure on. With our offense, sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.”
The turnovers plagued Mathews from the beginning of the game. On the first series, the Mustang offense put together a 6 minute 40 second drive that went to the five yard line of Gilmour. Unfortunately for Mathews, Eric Ocheltree fumbled the ball and O’Brien recovered on the five.
Gilmour got the game’s first points in the second quarter on a 10 yard run by Hallal. Mathews answered scoring the game’s next 13. After converting a fourth down in Lancer territory, Jackson broke off a 38 yard touchdown to tie the game at 6.
Mathews took the lead after holding Gilmour on a fourth down, and followed it up with a 72 yard pitch and catch from Buckner to Hughes, making the score 13-6.
Gilmour closed the gap before halftime when Urban and Cangelosi hooked up for a 23 yard touchdown pass. A missed two point conversion left the score at 13-12 at halftime.
Ryan Teknipp would add a 26 yard touchdown run late in the game to put the game away at 38-13.
Mathews, the champions of the East Suburban Conference has their season end at 10-1, while Gilmour advances to play North Lima South Range in a Regional Semifinal next Friday night.