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WHS in tiebreaker Monday after win over Santa Fe

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By Jim Clark

ALACHUA - After a weekend of things falling into place, the Williston Red Devils football team finds itself going to a three-way playoff for second place in the district Monday night. The Devils defeated Santa Fe, 46-26, last Thursday, to set up the possibility of a three-way tie for second. Then came the second round, Friday night, where Dunnellon had to lose to North Marion to force the Monday night extra. That's exactly what happened, as the Colts grabbed their fifth straight district title, 28-16. The tie-breaker, one of at least 17 in the state, is to be played Monday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. at Dunnellon. The host team, as top seed, draws a bye into the second quarter, while Williston and West Port will play the first quarter. The winner plays Dunnellon, and the winner of the second quarter will advance to the playoffs. If any quarter ends in a tie, the regular overtime procedure, called the Kansas Tiebreaker, will be used. The Santa Fe game was a bit of a nail-biter for a while, but the Devils finally pulled away. Williston scored first after recovering a fumble in the first quarter at the Santa Fe 21. On the first play quarterback Devin Timmons hit a quick pass over the middle to Travis Evans, and the running back did the rest, going all the way to the end zone. Mike Simma booted the extra point to make it 7-0. The next series was disastrous for theRaiders, who ran the kickoff back from the 2 to the 23. After three plays left a fourth-and-one, the snap went over kicker Collin Mixon's head and into the end zone, and rather than try to advance he just kicked the ball backward out of play for a safety. The teams went back and forth until Santa Fe punted from deep in its own territory after a costly ineligible receiver penalty. On the first play Evans took it to the 17, and from there he scored on the next play. Simma's kick made it 16-0. Santa Fe came right back with a short drive that extended into the second quarter. It was set up by a 62-yard kickoff return to the Williston 35, and a fw plays later Deonte Merricks scored on a pitchout from the 14. Mixon's kick made it 16-7. Late in the quarter Simma kicked a 24-yard field goal afer a 27-yard pass from Timmons to Evans got the Devils close. But the Raiders roared back with a 30-yard kickoff return and, soon after, a 37-yard touchdown pass from Frank Snead to Leon Williams. The kick was blocked and it was 19-13 with 1:10 left in the half. With only a little time before intermission, neither team was through. Williston marched right down the field after a series of penalties and three kickoffs gave the Devils the ball at their own41. From there Timmons hit Courtney Days with a 26-yard pass, and then a great catch of a pass by Deonte Welch went for a 33-yard touchdown. Simma's kick made it 26-13 with 40 seconds to go. Back came Santa Fe. After nearly losing the ball on a fumble on the kick return, a 47-yard pass put the ball at the Williston 20, and from there Snead hit Darrian Taylor for another touchdown. The kick was good and it was 26-20 at the half with Santa Fe to receive. Starting the second half, the defense did its job and Williston got the ball after a punt at its own 38. From there the Devils put on a nice nine-play drive that used up more than four minutes to take a 32-20 lead. The biggest plays were a 19-yard pass from Timmons to Welch, a 13-yard pass to Chris Morrow and a 13-yard run by Timmons. Evans got the touchdown on a seven-yard burst up the middle and it was 32-20. The next score came early in the fourth as Welch scored from the1,making it 39-20. Santa Fe answered immediately with a 17-yard run by Will Scaff to make it 39-26, but moments later Williston closed out the scoring. Ryan Spencer took a short kickoff at midfield and reached the Santa Fe 39. Evans carried four yards to the 35 and then took a pitch around the left side for 35 yards and a score. Simma's boot made it 46-26 and the Devils had accomplished their goal of putting themselves in a position to advance.