Braves lose heartbreaker


La Salle stuns Banks 32-30 on a 25-yard field goal with three seconds remaining

One lousy yard was all that stood between Banks and a non-league win against La Salle on Friday night, but the Braves failed on a third-down conversion late in the fourth quarter and the visiting Falcons drove the length of the field for a game-winning field goal with three seconds left.

Banks (2-2) had the defending Class 4A state champions on the ropes Friday night, needing only to convert a third-and-one situation late in the game to run out the clock, but La Salle stuffed the Braves behind the line of scrimmage.

“We had been getting three or four yards a pop, so we went with a fullback counter and (La Salle) got a little shoestring tackle on him,” said Banks head coach Ben Buchanan. “If they don’t get that tackle, we run out the clock and the game’s over. It basically came down to who had the ball last.”

La Salle (2-2) had it last, and the Falcons hit a big passing play over the top of the defense to move into Banks territory, eventually setting up a 25-yard field goal attempt for Mark

Holenstein with three seconds left. The senior split the uprights, lifting La Salle to a thrilling 32-30 victory.

“All we had to do was get a first down and we had it won,” Buchanan said. “Those are tough ones to swallow.”

Banks took the lead with about four minutes remaining, when quarterback Graysen Partain hooked up with wideout Zach Olson for a 35-yard touchdown pass that put the Braves on top, 30-29.

La Salle couldn’t get any traction on its ensuing possession, eventually punting the ball back to Banks. With no time outs remaining, La Salle needed to stop Banks on third-and-short near midfield or risk letting the Braves run out the clock. The Falcons knifed into the backfield and tripped up the ballcarrier short of the first down marker, forcing Banks to punt the ball back.

Despite being pinned deep, Holenstein connected with senior Colin Meisner for a 52-yard pickup, and the Falcons then methodically moved the ball into field goal range.

“We played well,” Buchanan said. “We’re getting there. We’re getting close to putting it all together.”

Partain completed 12-of-20 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns, and the senior has still not thrown an interception this season. His favorite target continued to be Olson, who finished the game with six catches for 149 yards and two scores.

Banks running back Dakota Kemper missed the game with an ankle injury, but Buchanan thinks the senior will be back this week for the start of Cowapa League play.

The Braves will travel to Scappoose on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.