What a night for Badin High School senior Luke VanSteenkiste.
VanSteenkiste spent the halftime break being crowned homecoming king and then capped off Friday evening by calmly drilling a 32-yard field goal as time expired in the Rams’ 24-21 Greater Catholic League Coed Division football win over Carroll at Virgil Schwarm Stadium.
“I mean, I just don’t know what to say,” VanSteenkiste said. “I don’t think I could have possibly had a better night. This is unreal.”
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VanSteenkiste admitted he really didn’t feel pressure about the kick but the same can’t be said of the Badin faithful, who waited anxiously through back-to-back timeouts by the Patriots only to be rewarded when VanSteenkiste drilled it.
“(Carroll) could have called more timeouts, but it wouldn’t have mattered,” VanSteenkiste said. “They tried to freeze me twice, but I just had to hit it through. I wasn’t going to miss.”
VanSteenkiste’s kick salvaged a tough night for the Rams, who had to overcome a 14-point second-half deficit.
“I really don’t know how we won that game,” Badin coach Nick Yordy said. “The guys just kept fighting. We caught some breaks, but that is a testament to them. We fought through the struggles and pulled it out. And man, what a great night for Luke VanSteenkiste. He is such a good kid.”
Carroll ran 67 plays to only 47 for the Rams and had the ball for over 30 minutes, but costly turnovers and some big stops by the Badin defense proved too much to overcome.
The Patriots scored first after a 12-play, game-opening drive was capped off by a 9-yard run by Fred Butts. Carroll drove inside the Rams 20 twice more in the first quarter, but was stopped on a fourth-and-1 at the 3-yard line and fumbled away the other opportunity.
Butts, a 6-foot-3, 255 pound running back, punished the Rams all night, tallying 155 yards on 29 carries with two scores.
“Man, that running back is a load,” Yordy said. “Give a lot of credit to them. They came in with a big back, good quarterback and executed. I thought our defense struggled early, but they came up big in the second half.”
Badin’s offense struggled to find its rhythm most of the night, but Davon Starks gave the Rams a big jolt late in the half with a 45-yard run. Starks finished that drive with a 7-yard TD run, but the Patriots regained the lead with only 29 seconds in the half.
Quarterback Trent Fox hit Michael Cozart (four catches, 89 yards) on a 25-yard pass that set up a 27-yard score in which Cozart found himself wide open.
Carroll, which fell to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the GCLC North Division, extended the lead to 14 when Butts finished off a 13-play drive with a 1-yard scoring plunge in the third quarter.
The rest of the night, the Rams defense stood tall and the Badin offense made big plays.
Trailing 21-7 late in the third quarter, Jayden Carter forced, then recovered, a fumble at the Patriots 24.
Badin cut the lead to 21-14 when Zach Switzer hit Josh Hegemann with an 8-yard scoring toss.
In the fourth, Badin stopped Carroll on a fourth-and-2 at its own 37. After a fake punt failed for the hosts, BHS came up big again by forcing a Carroll punt, with the Rams taking over on their own 15 with 4:23 left.
Alex DeLong didn’t waste time bringing the fans to their feet, going untouched 85 yards to tie the game.
Carroll fielded the ensuing kickoff on its own 7 and Starks came up with a big interception to set up VanSteenkiste’s game-winner.
“All three phases showed up tonight,” Yordy said. “We got special teams, good defense, big plays from the offense.”
DeLong finished with 158 yards and Starks added 118. Dylan Schmitt had nine tackles for Badin, while Evan Schlensker and Starks each had 8.5 tackles.
The Rams (4-2, 2-1) are now alone on top of the GCLC Central Division and will host Purcell Marian next Saturday at Monroe. Carroll will be at home against Alter next Friday.
C: Fred Butts 9 run (Kade Greer kick)
B: Davon Starks 8 run (Luke VanSteenkiste kick)
C: Michael Cozart 27 pass from Trent Fox (Greer kick)
C: Butts 1 run (Greer kick)
B: Josh Hegemann 8 pass from Zach Switzer (VanSteenkiste kick)
B: Alex DeLong 85 run (VanSteenkiste kick)
B: VanSteenkiste 32 field goal