WATCH: Amazing Final Play Ends 29-Year Playoff Losing Streak for Beresford
The last time Beresford High School won a playoff football game George H.W. Bush was the president, the number one movie at the box office was Under Siege starring Steven Segal, and the number one song was "End Of The Road" by Boyz II Men.
That 29-year playoff losing streak ended Thursday when junior Tate Van Otterloo escaped the pocket to his left and completed a 24-yard pass to senior Isaiah Richards with no time left on the clock to give the Watchdogs a 27-24 upset win over Mount Vernon/Plankinton.
Beresford trailed the Titans 12-7 at halftime. In the third quarter, they took a 14-12 lead on a Van Otterloo touchdown run. It went back and forth until late in the fourth quarter when Mount Vernon/Plankinton took a 24-22 lead with only 1:42 left.
On the ensuing kickoff, a Beresford penalty forced them to start the game-winning drive on their own 9-yard-line with just 1:35 left on the clock.
Two plays later, Beresford faced a 3rd and 7 from the MV/P 11 when Van Otterloo hooked up with Richards for a 25-yard pass to breathe life into the drive. The Watchdog offense started rolling, working the sidelines, and converting first downs to manage the clock.
Facing a crucial 3rd and 5 from the MV/P 34, the Beresford offensive line stepped up and delivered a perfectly protected pocket. Van Otterloo was able to stand tall and fire a laser to Brayden Sommervold for a 10-yard completion, a first down, and a temporary clock stoppage with 11.5 seconds left.
Then came the final act.
With the clock running, Van Otterloo took the snap with six seconds left. Pressured up the middle and from the left, he stepped up to avoid the rush and escaped to the wide left side of the field. With the play breaking down, the receivers began to improvise their routes to get open. As the clock was running out, Richards extended his deep route along the back of the end zone and put his hand up to signal he was open. Van Otterloo astutely avoided stepping beyond the scrimmage line, took a step back, and lobbed a perfectly elevated pass over the defense for the walk-off touchdown.
The final play was great. The drive was better. When John Elway led his legendary drive against Cleveland in 1987, the Broncos took five minutes to go 98 yards. Beresford went 91 yards in 1:35. That's tough. I can't say it's the best game-winning drive in South Dakota high school football history, but I can confidently say it is among the most dramatic.
Van Otterloo finished with 339 yards passing and 3 touchdowns plus a rushing score. Richards had 14 receptions for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. Beresford will travel to Aberdeen Roncalli in the quarterfinals on Thursday, October 28.
In full disclosure, I am a Beresford alum. When the Watchdogs last won a playoff game, 27-14 over Sioux Valley on October 29, 1992, I was on the sideline for it. Five days later, George Bush lost to Bill Clinton for the presidency, and I got my first varsity start as a sophomore and helped start the playoff losing streak when we lost to Harrisburg 29-22. We were one-and-dones both my junior and senior years.
Congratulations, Watchdogs! Keep that chip on your shoulder.