Verbena comeback falls short on senior night

Published 11:30 pm Friday, November 3, 2017

The last couple weeks were some close calls for as Verbena attempted to get its first win of the season, but the Red Devils were denied one last time after a 20-12 home loss to Berry in the regular season finale Nov. 3.

Verbena (0-10) trailed 14-0 at halftime and by 20 early in the third quarter after Berry returned an interception for a touchdown.

However, the Red Devils did as they have all year and kept fighting no matter what the score or the record may read.

“It shows what type of character, not just the seniors, but the whole group that we have,” Verbena head coach Tyler Kelley said. “It’s been a rough year for them, but every day at practice they were out there working as hard as they can.”

Dawson Rouhrbough was inserted at quarterback and immediately sparked a scoring drive that ended in a 32-yard touchdown run by senior Trevor Hilyer who received some nice downfield blocking by his receivers.

Verbena strung together another drive in the fourth quarter that another senior in Nick Williams converted a fourth and 1 and punched in a two-yard touchdown on consecutive quarterback sneaks.

Hilyer kept the legs churning all game long and exploded for 191 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries on the night.

According to Hilyer, the running game and his vision to accurately read the holes is the aspect of the game that he has improved the most during his time at Verbena.

“He’s just a tough, hard to bring down type of kid and a great football player,” Kelley said.

Verbena missed both of its two-point conversion attempts and trailed 20-12 with one last possession and plenty of time left on the clock.

The Red Devils faced a fourth and 4 at the Berry 11-yard line and a toss play to the left to Hilyer was bottled up, forcing a turnover on downs with 3:17 remaining in the game.

It would prove to be the final offensive play of the regular season as Berry successfully ran out the clock.

“We’re young and we just kept going to practice finding ways to get better,” Hilyer said. “I had a lot of leadership I was entrusted with and hopefully the underclassmen can carry it into next year.”

It was senior night at Verbena, and Kelley was thankful for the group of seniors that bought in and helped him lay the foundation as a first year coach.

“Hats off to the seniors,” Kelley said. “They really picked it up and what they did is going to help us in the long run.”