Slaters rally past OV football

BRANDON — The Otter Valley Union High School football team’s home opener on Saturday against Fair Haven was going really well … until it wasn’t.
The Otters took a 12-6 lead into halftime, only to see it slip away in the second half as the Slaters rallied to win the game, 36-20.
It began in the first second of the second half. Fair Haven’s Lucas Czarnecki returned the opening kick-off for a game-tying touchdown and the Slaters got the momentum they needed. That score was followed by a two-point conversion. Fair Haven back Tyler Rice ran for a 35-yard touchdown and the ensuing 2-point conversion dash to give the Slaters a 10-point lead, 22-12, with 53 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Slaters made it 30-12 at 6:48 of the fourth on a Nick Brooks 25-yard run and quarterback Ryan Alexander’s two-point conversion pass. Tyler Rice finished the Slaters’ scoring with 4:36 to go when he bulldozed his way up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown.
It was a different game during the first half, when the Otters took control early by taking full advantage of turnovers. The on-again, off-again rain and humid conditions make the ball a slippery prospect on both sides. OV punted on third-and-long from the 50, but Fair Haven fumbled the reception, and the ball was recovered by defensive back Vytas Nielsen at the Slaters’ 16.
Then, on third-and-1 on the Slaters’ 7-yard line, OV Quarterback John Winslow faked a handoff and ran in for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead with 3:03 remaining in the first quarter. 
Another fumble by the Fair Haven offense was recovered by Adam Sherwin at OV’s own 30-yard line. OV back Mike Winslow, who led the Otters with 138 yards on 16 carries, soon scored on a 62-yard touchdown run, and it was 12-0.
Fair Haven scored on a Rice 39-yard run late in the second quarter to make it 12-6 at the half, a play that came after the Slaters recovered an OV fumble.
Mike Winslow added the Otters’ final touchdown of the game with 3:17 remaining as the Division III Otters tried to come back. QB John Winslow went 20-of-32 with 171 yards passing, including a two-point conversion on the final score.
Rice finished with 14 carries for 169 yards for the Division II Slaters, Brooks ran for 89 yards on eight attempts, and Alexander completed 13 passes for 133 yards.
The Otters will host D-III foe BFA-Fairfax on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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