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Prep Football: Wildcats rally past Paynesville

New London-Spicer running back Ronnie Johnson stretches unsuccessfully for the end zone in the first half Friday against Paynesville in New London. The Wildcats eventually scored on the drive, and won 33-28 on a TD in the final seconds. Tribune photo by Tom Larson.

NEW LONDON -- Mitch Ejink hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds left to give New London-Spicer a 33-28 come-from-behind non-conference win over Highway 23 neighbor Paynesville Friday in the season opener for both squads.

Paynesville was in front for the majority of the game with the help of big plays from senior running back Josh Bungum, but the Wildcats roared back to avoid swallowing the upset bug. Bungum ran for a game-high 190 yards on just 17 carries and scored on 47-yard run in the first quarter and on a 67-yard burst in the third.

Down 28-27 with 1:34 left NLS started a drive at its own 29-yard line. Tanner Tobkin started the series by completing a 40-yard pass to Ejink. The Wildcats were then pushed back five yards on a false start, but Tobkin and Ejink hooked up again for an eight-yard gain. Tobkin followed an incomplete pass with a first-down pass to Ronnie Johnson that placed the ball on Paynesville's 21 with 35 seconds left on the clock.

The winning play followed when Ejink hauled in a Tobkin pass 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage and found the end zone after breaking a tackle around the Paynesville 10.

Ejink finished with 73 receiving yards on seven catches and Tobkin was 16-for-32 with 187 yards and two touchdowns, both to Ejink.

Johnson was also helpful moving the ball after gaining 179 yards on 26 carries. The senior scored on three runs with two coming in the fourth quarter on 16- and 41-yard scampers to keep the Wildcats within striking distance.

Jason Kampsen's 39-yard run and Bungum's two-point conversion tote put Paynesville ahead 28-27.