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10/02/1994  Time runs out on Wheatley 22-21  Football

Date: SUN 10/02/1994
Section: Sports
Page: 2
Edition: 3 STAR

Time runs out on Wheatley 22-21


Wheatley vs Schulenburg

The clock struck midnight Saturday afternoon on Wheatley's bid to knock off Class 2A power Schulenburg.

But none of the 6,000 in attendance -- or any of the players -- knew it, because the scoreboard clocks weren't working at Delmar Stadium.

The result was a controversial 22-21 Schulenburg victory that wasn't locked up until time ran out on the Wildcats' final drive. The game ended with Wheatley at the Shorthorns' 23-yard line when quarterback Alvin Steele, thinking he was stopping the clock, threw a pass out of the end zone.

"The whole game, we didn't know the time," Steele said. "We just didn't know the time the whole game."

The Shorthorns got a one-yard touchdown run from Jason Houston to go up 22-21 with 1:20 to play, but the Wildcats were poised to pull the game out when Steele (10-for-18 passing, 151 yards) completed four straight passes to the 23. But as Steele's next pass went out of the end zone, officials, who kept time on the sidelines, signaled the game was over.

The call brought howls of protest from the stands and from the Wheatley coaching staff.

"It was confusing," said Wheatley coach Tom Hendricks. "They told us it was 1:20 (when the Wildcats took possession), but that was the quickest 1:20 I've ever seen in my life. I thought there was 30 seconds left (when Steele's pass went out of the end zone), but then I look up and the man (the official) said "Game.' Then they were out of here."

Wheatley dropped to 2-2-1, but both losses have been by one point (including a 29-28 loss to Cleveland in Week 3) on scores in the final two minutes. But that's the way it goes when you suit up just 24 players, as Wheatley does.

"It's still the same old thing -- 24 against the world," Hendricks said. "Our kids fought well."

Hendricks was quick to say the clock was not the reason the Wildcats lost to Schulenburg (5-0), the top-ranked team in Class 2A.

"We beat ourselves," Hendricks said. "We made stupid mistakes in coverage, and they exploited it. They're a good team, and you can't do that to a good team. I don't care if they're A, 2A, 3A or six-man. You can't do that.

"It's not an insult to lose to them. They're a damned good football team."

The Shorthorns, who won Class 2A titles in 1991 and 1992, had to travel 97 miles on Interstate 10 for the game. The final 89 yards -- the distance Schulenburg had to travel in the final two minutes -- was the most satisfying part of the trip.

Trailing 21-15 with two minutes to play, Schulenburg went to tailback Houston, who had been stopped cold for much of the game by the Wheatley defense. Houston finally broke through, gaining 69 of his 101 yards on the drive.

How silly was the clock situation? Officially, Schulenburg went 89 yards in seven plays, but just 40 seconds went off the clock.

Houston capped the drive with a one-yard blast for his second touchdown of the game. Barry Shepard's kick gave the Shorthorns the one-point lead with 1:20 to play.

Schulenburg7 0 8 7 - 22
Wheatley.0 15 0 6 - 21

S-Houston 3 run (Shepard kick)
W-Fowler 4 run (Smith kick)
W-Smith 24 pass from Steele (Nickerson run)
S-Marak 59 pass from Sartain (Houston run)
W-Fowler 11 run (kick failed)
S-Houston 1 run (Shepard kick)
                                          Wheat   Schulen
First downs.16    12
Rushing yards.183   134
Passing yards.151   120
Passes18-10-1   17-8-1
Punts-avg.2-22-0   3-33-0
Fumbles lost  1   3
Penalties-yards6-32   1-10