GARY | It was the big plays in the first half, but it was the little ones in the second that led Bowman to a 28-21 win in the final two minutes over Boone Grove.
The Wolves (8-3) led 21-20 when Bowman got the ball on the Boone 40-yard line with 7:03 left. The Eagles had a first down and goal to go from the 8-yard line with less than two minutes left.
It took four tries, but James Taylor plunged in on a 1-yard score on fourth down to take the lead. Taylor's conversion run capped the scoring on the day.
"We just saw something in what they were doing, and we just stayed with the plan," coach David Nelson said. "We didn't want to score too quick, so I was trying to make sure we ate up some clock at the same time as moving the ball."
Bowman (6-5) scored first on its first play of more than two yards when DeShawn Franklin took a quarterback draw 55 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter.
The Eagles made another big play when they got the ball back. This time it was Izaiah Cole weaving in and out of the Boone Grove defense and breaking a 52-yard scamper into the end zone.
It was 12-0 at the break.
"They knew us well. We knew them well. I tried to throw some wrinkles at them but it didn't take long for them to adjust to it," Nelson said. "I had to find something else."
Laron Golden returned the second half's opening kickoff to the Wolves 5-yard line, but it was called back to the 30-yard line on a block in the back. It still only took the Eagles two plays to score, as Taylor ran 29 yards for a touchdown.
Taylor's conversion run made the lead 20-0 early in the third quarter.
"I told the kids at halftime we had a pretty good lead, but Boone Grove was going to come back and fight," Nelson said. "I knew they wouldn't lay down."
Boone Grove got on the board in the third quarter when Aaron Ellis found a wide open Tristan Stark for a 51-yard touchdown pass.
The Wolves blocked a punt on the next Bowman possession and took over on the Eagles 29-yard line. After a sack brought Boone back, Matt Wiggins took a screen pass 42 yards -- fighting off a handful of Eagles in the process-- for another score to bring the Wolves within six with more than a quarter to play.
Wiggins looked almost down at the 20-yard line.
Boone Grove completed the its comeback on the first play of the fourth quarter. Zach Keilman recovered a fumbled snap in the end zone and Andrew Ooms's point after made it 21-20 Wolves.
"Those mistakes, we definitely can't make them next week," Nelson said. "For some reason, I guess they just like games close."