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Rangers hold on 17-16 to upset Henley thanks to a blocked PAT, recovered onside kick.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Estacada football is still dancing as the Rangers special teams spur an upset win 17-16 over No. 4 Henley. Hundreds of miles from home, facing a talented team in the quarterfinals of the state championships, Estacada football suffered a deflating play that could have broken the spirit of a lesser team.

Holding onto a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter against Henley, the Hornets strung together a long scoring drive, which included a key fourth down conversion for a touchdown. Up just a single point, the Rangers special teams unit blocked the PAT.

"Everybody went nuts on the sidelines when we blocked the kick," said coach Andy Mott. "Emotions had dipped watching them score, but seeing us keep the lead got everybody right back in the game."

Fighting through adversity and an inspired performance by the special teams players was the story for No. 5 Estacada, as they upset No. 4 Henley 17-16 Friday night, Nov. 11, at Mazama High School in a 4A State Quarterfinals game that was not for the faint of heart.

"I think I am finally settling down," Mott said with a laugh, as the Rangers embarked on a long, 300-mile bus drive home. "It was an exhilarating win — we knew it would come down to the wire and we just had to keep fighting through the adversity."

It was a rough start for the Rangers, with a fumble on the opening drive the Hornets were able to turn into a quick score. But a few drives later bruising senior fullback Waylon Riedel punched in a touchdown of his own to cut into the deficit 7-6.

Right before the end of the first, as Henley was cruising toward another touchdown, the Rangers snagged an interception and got into range for their star kicker. Senior Ben Haefs, who missed last week's game with Rangers boys soccer duties and was heaped with awards for his play on the pitch this year, sailed a 38-yard field goal through the uprights to make it 9-7 Estacada at the break.

The Hornets answered with a field goal of their own on the opening drive of the third quarter, but the Rangers battled back.

"Every time our boys rose to the challenge," Mott said.

Senior running back Tucker Jackson scampered in for the go-ahead touchdown, and senior quarterback Cory James punched in the 2-point conversion.

After the blocked kick, the Rangers special teams came up big again, recovering an attempted onside kick from the Hornets. Estacada was able to run out the clock for the win.

"Our kids are hungry. They want to keep playing," Mott said. "Whoever we face, I like the way we look right now. We are peaking at the right time."


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