Coldwater (Ohio) High senior Ethan Bettinger always dreamed of being his team's starting quarterback. Throughout the past offseason he was slated to get that chance, until an untimely ankle injury just before the season relegated him to yet another season as the team's backup. Then, last weekend Bettinger finally got to shine under center, entering in the crucible of pressure of a final-minute drive with his team needing a touchdown to stay alive. Amazingly, he pulled it off, then led Coldwater to an improbable Division V-Region 20 semifinal playoff victory against Badin (Ohio) High in overtime.
"It was all on the line, and there were so many things running through my head," Bettinger told the Dayton Daily News. "The clock was running down, everybody was screaming, it was crazy. But I got my chance tonight, and we won. It feels amazing."
After a season of waiting, Bettinger entered with about 15 seconds in the game, with Coldwater trailing 7-0 and facing a fourth-and-15 at Badin's 35-yard-line. According to the Daily News, Bettinger came off the sideline following an injury to starting quarterback Austin Bruns and finished off the drive you see above.
Bettinger's first move was to complete a scrambling, 23-yard pass to Aaron Rammel. That fourth-down conversion gave Coldwater 8.9 seconds to go the final 12 yards to tie the game, a task which they promptly made harder by picking up a false start penalty. With the ball at the 17-yard line, Bettinger calmly hit Reese Klenke in the end zone to cut the Badin lead to 7-6 with 3.4 seconds left, and an extra point then sent the game into overtime.
His teammates made things easy on the quarterback in overtime, finishing off the comeback with a rushing touchdown from Rammel to advance to the Division V-Region 20 final on Saturday against 12-0 West Jefferson (Ohio) High.
Perhaps most impressively, Bettinger had the peace of mind to tell the the team's traditional starter that a comeback was coming. Bruns, whose knee injury during the final-minute drive necessitated Bettinger's switch back to quarterback from his wide receiver position, said he was also proud his replacement could pull off the feat.
"Ethan ran over to me and said ‘I love you, man' and ‘We're going to do this,'" Bruns told the Daily News. "We've been battling for that starting job all year, and I'm so happy for him. He couldn't have thrown a better pass."
With Bruns still recovering from his injury, Bettinger will finally get the playoff start at quarterback he's been waiting for.
His coach said the opportunity has been well deserved.
"I'm so happy for him because he's a senior and it was his job until he broke his ankle (in the preseason)," Coldwater coach Chip Otten told the Daily News. "He moved to wide receiver and had a great attitude about it, and this is what happens sometimes when you hang in there."