By ALAN DOOLEY
It surely hasn’t been easy, but the Waterloo football team improved to 4-0 on the season with a 20-14 double overtime win at home Friday night against Mascoutah.
Coming into the game, the Bulldogs had already been the victor of a last-minute win in week one at state-ranked Herrin, followed by a thrilling overtime win at rival Columbia, also state-ranked, in week two. Last week’s home opener against Carbondale was a little easier on the nerves for Waterloo fans, as their ‘Dogs won 35-14.
But Friday night was another nailbiter. Mascoutah scored first when Trecion Bell drove in for a touchdown at the 9:23 mark of the first quarter.
The Bulldogs answered just a few minutes later when Mr. Reliable — running back Rick Wiegand — ran into the endzone from 28 yards out to tie the game.
The second quarter was marred by penalties on both teams before Mascoutah scored on a play by A.J. Lazarrio. The Bulldogs got a scare when punter Ryan Aycock fumbled a snap but was able to race back, recover the ball, and get off a kick of 15 yards just in time.
Waterloo held Mascoutah scoreless for the rest of the half, going to the locker room down a touchdown at 14-7.
In the third quarter, Waterloo’s Brad Lathrop caught a pass from quarterback Aaron Laskowski to knot the contest at 14-14.
Waterloo survived a scare late in the third quarter when, after being backed up on their own 1-yard line, Laskowski ripped off a 40-yard sprint with 1:30 left.
The two teams traded possessions throughout the rest of the contest, and Waterloo shut down Mascoutah’s late fourth quarter scoring threat when Lathrop intercepted a Mascoutah pass.
The game went into overtime, and neither team was able to score in the first go-around.
In the second overtime, Mascoutah went on offense first. An interception in the endzone by Kersten Panzau set the scene for the dramatic.
Laskowski took matters into his own hands and sprinted into the endzone to bring a screaming crowd to its feet and the game to an end.
“They simply refused to give up,” Waterloo head coach Dan Rose said of his players.
Rose also praised the strong fan support throughout the game.
“The crowd, the band… they were terrific,” Rose said. “They gave the game a college feel with the band playing, the students screaming and conducting a ‘white out’ in the fourth quarter. This was student spirit at its best, when it counted.”
The Bulldogs travel to Civic Memorial next Friday for another crucial conference contest.