Saturday, September 18, 1999

LaSalle 23, Oak Hills 16


Highlanders' rally shut down by interception

BY CAREY HOFFMAN
Enquirer contributor

        LaSalle's visit Friday to Oak Hills turned out to be the kind of up-in-the-air game that can make or break a season.

        So consider LaSalle's 23-16 victory a huge boost for the Lancers.

        Heading into Greater Catholic League South play with a visit to Moeller next week, the Lancers sport a 3-1 record and a bounty of newfound confidence.

        “The win is really big,” said LaSalle defensive back Doug Kruthaupt, who sealed the victory with an interception in the final minute of play. “Coming off losing to Sycamore (two weeks ago), we've rallied back and we're going in the right direction.”

        As unlikely as it seemed at times Friday, Oak Hills nearly overcame a turnover-filled night with a stirring fourth-quarter rally.

        Oak Hills scored the first points of the second half on the first play of the fourth quarter when Ben Arinsmier bulled in from 4 yards. A two-point conversion pass failed, leaving LaSalle with a 23-13 lead.

        Then, after LaSalle lost 14 yards on its next possession, punter Mike Obert fumbled the snap and fell on the ball, giving Oak Hills possession at the LaSalle 10.

        Three plays later, in the game's biggest lost opportunity, Oak Hills elected to go for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 4. Running back Alex Arinsmier, who came off the bench to deliver 118 second-half rushing yards, was tackled at the 1 by LaSalle's Blake Niemeyer.

        But Oak Hills wasn't done. With 3:11 left to play, Clint Richmond booted a 36-yard field goal to cut the lead to 23-16.

        LaSalle, which didn't gain a first down in the second half, went four and out, giving Oak Hills the ball at its own 23 with 1:42 left in the game.

        The Highlanders quickly moved into LaSalle territory and seemed in position to tie the game when Kruthaupt made his interception.

        “Oak Hills is very good,” new LaSalle coach Jim McQuade said. “But this was a good example of a team game. We had good play from our offense in the first half, and the defense carried the load in the second half.”

        Oak Hills finished with seven turnovers in the game.

        Oak Hills outgained LaSalle by halftime, 178-163. Inability to hang on to the ball, however, made that stat meaningless.

        The Highlanders turned over the ball four times, turning a 7-7 tie into a 23-7 LaSalle lead at half.

        Oak Hills struck first in the game, scoring on a 13-yard run by Ben Arinsmier with 37 sec onds left in the first quarter.

        LaSalle responded on its first play from scrimmage, when junior Reggie Watson took a draw play up the middle 65 yards for a TD.

        Then came the turnovers.

        On the second play of Oak Hills' ensuing drive, Highlanders running back Nick Paff fumbled at his own 25, with LaSalle's David Kaiser recovering.

        LaSalle ....... 7  16  0  0—23

        Oak Hills ....... 7   0  0  9—16

        OH—B. Arinsmier 13 run (Richmond kick)

        L—Watson 65 run (Obert kick)

        L—Obert 23 FG

        L—Knueven 28 pass from Schoenling (Obert kick)

        L—Schoenling 1 run (kick wide)

        OH—B. Arinsmier 4 run (pass failed)

        OH—Richmond 36 FG Records: L 3-1, OH 2-2.

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