Packers come up short

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 7, 2000

ROCHESTER – For the second time in three weeks, the Austin Packers football team controlled everything but the scoreboard.

Saturday, October 07, 2000

ROCHESTER – For the second time in three weeks, the Austin Packers football team controlled everything but the scoreboard.

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Behind a solid offensive line, Austin rolled up more than 300 yards rushing, yet fell to Big Nine Conference foe Rochester Century here Friday, 22-14.

"Our offense moved the ball exceptionally well," Packer coach Steve Knox said. "The frustrating part is we’re close … in each game we’ve had the ball at the goal line and for some reason we can’t punch it in."

Four turnovers, including three inside the Century 30-yard line, Friday did the Packers in. The big blow was delivered by Century cornerback Scott Burnoski, who stepped in front of a Mike Fuhrman pass midway through the third quarter and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown and a 16-6 Century lead.

Burnoski’s second interception of the game was the only time the Panthers touched the ball in the third quarter. His timely play stalled a six-minute, 40-second Austin drive that had grabbed the momentum back for the Packers after ending the first half with a drive that stalled inside the Century 5-yard line on Burnoski’s first interception of the night.

"Give the defensive line all the credit," Burnoski said of his picks. "They got pressure on the quarterback and all he could do was lob it up there. It made it easy for me."

To the Packers’ credit, they marched right back down the field on the ensuing possession, going 91 yards in 6:24, sparked by a 50-yard Isaac Knox scamper from his 25-yard line to the Century 25.

Knox finished the game with 244 yards on 22 carries, believed to be the second best single-game performance in school history, behind only Rob Haedt’s 264-yard performance against Simley.Jaime Zavala capped the drive by bulling his way into the end zone from three yards out just more than a minute into the fourth quarter. Zavala caught Fuhrman’s pass for the two-point conversion to pull Austin within 16-14.

Zavala’s touchdown grabbed the momentum back for the Packers, whose defense stuffed Century running back Hunter Brown for losses of one and three yards on the first two plays of the Panthers ensuing drive.

Facing third-and-14 at their own 25, Panther quarterback Nick Worden narrowly avoided being sacked by Packer linebacker Joe Sand, then completed a 33-yard bomb to a diving Bob Klein to keep the Panther drive alive at the Austin 43. Ten plays and nearly five minutes later, Brown plowed in from five yards out to increase the Panthers’ lead to 22-14.

With 4:12 to go, Austin used eight straight running plays to take the ball from its 32 to the Century 35. After Fuhrman was sacked for a six-yard loss on the ninth play of the drive, Knox ran for nine yards.

Fuhrman spiked the ball to stop the clock, then threw two straight incompletions, one of which narrowly missed the outstretched hands of an open Dan Smith. Fuhrman was pressured again on fourth down and was intercepted for the third time by Burnoski.

"This was a game both teams thought they could win coming in," Century coach Ray Barnett said. "We’re fortunate to come out on top."

Austin (2-4) hosts winless Albert Lea for homecoming on Friday, while Century (2-4) visits Winona.