EDITOR’S NOTE: In November of 1983, the Worthington Trojans football team beat Marshall 21-8 to qualify for the state Class A tournament, whereupon the Trojans beat Lakeville 36-34 in overtime in an unforgettable performance. While spring sports remain on hold, The Globe is reprinting selected articles from great sports moments of the past. Today’s story (condensed), which appeared in the Nov. 12, 1983, issue of the Daily Globe, celebrates the OT victory over the Panthers.
BY DOUG WOLTER
MARSHALL -- The heroes? Oh, yes, the heroes.
Well, there was senior running back Dave Peterson, who scored three touchdowns for Worthington High and ran for 103 yards on 21 carries. It was Peterson -- on defense -- who stopped super-back Steve Shiner for no gain on a play that would have sent the game into a second overtime.
And there was Marc Kuiper, the 5-11, 150-pound son of assistant coach Don Kuiper and the holder on field goals and extra points, who scored a two-point conversion on a busted play that proved to be the difference in the ball game.
And there was senior tight end Dan Guimont, who caught quarterback Keith Balster’s first down pass in overtime for a score, setting up the Kuiper heroics and Peterson’s critical defensive maneuver.
And, of course, there was Balster himself, who directed a 60-yard touchdown drive in the final 47 seconds of the first half -- scoring on a naked reverse with 0:03 showing on the clock to give Worthington a 21-7 halftime lead. Balster would complete 10 of 16 passes for 100 yards on a cold, windy Saturday afternoon.
And so ended a momentous day in WHS football at Southwest State University-Marshall, where the Trojans edged an explosive Lakeville Panther team 36-34 in overtime in Class A quarterfinal action. Worthington needs only to beat the Hutchinson Tigers at Hutchinson Friday night to qualify for the state championship game Nov. 24 at the Minneapolis Metrodome. The Tigers defeated Totino-Grace 32-6 Friday (Worthington beat Totino-Grace 13-0 in the regular season) in their quarterfinal game.
Worthington, now 11-1 on the season, used an aggressive, gang-tackling defense to subdue the Shiner-led Panthers through most of the game. Indeed, Lakeville’s first team offense hadn’t even been forced to punt in three previous playoff games, but they managed just 133 total yards in the first half Saturday and had to punt three times. The Trojans, meanwhile, used field position to build a 14-point halftime lead. As it turned out, they needed all of those points to beat an inspired Lakeville outfit in the second half.
Scoring a touchdown with 4:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, then falling on an on-side kick and scoring again at 1:15, the Panthers forced the stunned Trojans into an overtime.
Worthington took possession first with four chances to score from the 10-yard line. But on first down Balster threw to Guimont, who reached up with one hand and cradled the football over his shoulder while running into the end zone. Jim Berger lined up to boot the extra point, but instead, Kuiper -- the holder -- picked up the football and ran left, escaping one tackle and leaping over another at the goal line.
Afterward, no one seemed to know exactly what had occurred, except that the conversion wasn’t supposed to be scored in that sort of way.
“We were going to run a screen, and we didn’t get the word to all the people,” said head coach Denny Hale. “So it was a mixup, and Kuiper didn’t even know it was a fake. Jimmy missed the ball and he (Kuiper) ran and got ‘er in.
“It was luck.”
Said Kuiper: “We were going to fake a kick and do a screen left. We had a good snap and Berger missed the ball -- see, I’m supposed to pull it out first and turn around and throw it. But I thought he missed the ball just because he wasn’t looking or something. So I pick it up and start running. Nobody was there so I just ran it in.
“I wasn’t supposed to run it. I was supposed to turn around and throw it to Peterson.”
The important thing was that it worked, and it forced Lakeville to score a touchdown and then score a two-point conversion. That almost seemed assured, though, with Shiner in the backfield.
Shiner, a 6-3, 210-pound all-state senior fullback, had already rambled for 220 yards on 35 carries and as the game wore on he became increasingly hard to stop. On first down in overtime, Shiner gained five yards. On second down he scored.
Everyone knew Shiner would get the carry on the conversion -- the only question was which side of the line he would run to. Through most of the game Lakeville chose the left side, made soft when Worthington’s Troy Hoefker went out and never returned due to an ankle injury. But on this particular carry, Shiner ran right and Peterson was there to make a solid hit.
“We thought they’d go to the other side,” said Peterson, “because that’s the way they ran the whole day. And I just stuffed in there and he kind of ran right into me.
“The guy (a blocker) slanted in to block me -- just pushed out, and I was one-on-one with the fullback.”