BLOOMFIELD — It took 58 years, 11 playoff losses and three seasons during which this 12 months’s senior class of Falcons gained simply 4 video games to get to the brink of historical past.
It was solely becoming then, that it took the most effective halves and one of many largest comebacks in Falcons historical past to realize the primary postseason win in program historical past.
That’s precisely what transpired Friday evening at Davis County Excessive College.
WB-ND rallied from an 18-point third-quarter deficit and accidents to 2 key starters for an unbelievable 30-24 victory over Davis County in.a Class 2A playoff recreation.
And it took one remaining large play, an interception by sophomore Xavier Jinkens with the Mustangs marching for a attainable game-tying landing within the closing seconds, to lastly safe the win and finish the 58-year drought.
WB-ND (4-4) advances to play top-ranked Williamsburg (7-0) at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Williamsburg.
Davis County ends the season with a 3-4 report.
Because the Falcons lined up within the victory formation and senior quarterback Anthony Hoffman knelt down for the final play, the celebration was on.
Fifty-eight lengthy years of ready was over. And three years of heartaches and heartbreaks for the senior class was erased with arguably the largest win in WB-ND historical past.
“First issues first, all glory to God for all of this,” mentioned senior defensive again Caden Murphy. whose interception halfway by means of the third quarter led to the Falcons’ second landing and swayed the momentum within the Falcons’ favor. “I can’t consider one other group, one other senior class, that deserves it extra. We knew we had been particular and I believe we confirmed it tonight.”
“It feels wonderful. Everybody doubted us, even our personal mates didn’t assume we had been going to get it, however we ended up displaying up and profitable it. First time in class historical past. We did it,” mentioned Hoffman, who stepped in to play quarterback when the group discovered Half-hour earlier than kickoff that Hayden Vandenberg wouldn’t be capable of play due to an damage.
“It feels completely wonderful. I believe it’s in all probability the perfect feeling I’ve ever had,” mentioned senior David Gerstel, who recovered an onside kick within the third quarter, which ultimately led to the game-tying landing.
“It’s wonderful. It’s simply wonderful,” mentioned WB-ND senior lineman Ethan Eilers. “We’re such a household on this program. The youngsters which were out since freshman 12 months which can be seniors, we’ve been by means of the crap. We’ve been by means of the exhausting occasions. I can’t consider this. That is wonderful. We’re taking place within the historical past books as the primary group to ever win a playoff recreation in West Burlington historical past. I do know it’s completely different than most years due to the COVID and everybody qualifies, however I don’t assume this group cares.”
The primary half was actually a catastrophe space for WB-ND. The Falcons had 5 possessions within the first 24 minutes. 4 of them resulted in turnovers, the opposite with a punt.
So as to add insult to damage, junior tailback Travain Donaldson, the second-leading rusher in Class 2A, went down with an ankle damage on the primary play of WB-ND’s second possession of the evening.
“We discovered 20-Half-hour earlier than the sport that we lose our beginning quarterback and beginning linebacker. I believe that was sort of an eye-opener for us,” WB-ND head coach Jay Eilers mentioned. “The second offensive possession we lose a particular tailback. I believe that affected our complete soccer group. I believe that impacts us up entrance. I believe it affected us defensively. We had been looking.”
Then, to rub salt into the wound, the Mustangs scored on a 53 yard move on the ultimate play of the half. An official inadvertently blew a whistle earlier than quarterback Carson Maeder launched the move for Caedyn Glosser, however the play stood.
Davis County then scored on the opening possession of the second half to take an 18-0 lead.
A halftime pep discuss by the WB-ND seniors had the Falcons revved up and able to roll.
“We mentioned the seniors must step up and present some management as a result of we’ve been doing it since freshman 12 months,” Gerstel mentioned. “We had been freshmen displaying management to the opposite seniors and we wanted to maintain doing it. That’s what our coach advised us.”
“We had been down a number of scores at half. We went into the locker room and we made a giant change,” Ethan Eilers mentioned. “We by no means gave up. That’s one thing we’ve been preaching all 12 months. Final week we struggled towards Mid-Prairie and it virtually felt like we gave up. We’re not that group anymore.”
WB-ND scored on 4 of its 5 possessions within the second half.
Hoffman capped a six-play, 42-yard drive with a three-yard scoring run to tug the Falcons inside 18-8.
The Falcons hit paydirt the second time they touched the ball. This time, Hoffman scored from 4 yards out, and Carson Chiprez’s two-point conversion run made it a two-point recreation.
Davis County drove 89 yards in eight performs, taking a 24-16 lead on a 20-yard run by Maeder on the second play of the fourth quarter.
The Falcons had been simply getting began. On the Falcons’ subsequent play from scrimmage, Hoffman linked with senior Brady Oleson on a 63-yard scoring move. A two-point conversion run by senior Kendell Baker knotted the sport at 24 with 10 minutes, 56 seconds to play.
Fittingly, Baker scored what proved to be the game-winning landing on a four-yard run with 2:45 remaining. Baker, changing the injured Donaldson, piled up a whopping 226 yards on 30 carries because the instantly jacked-up offensive line grew to become street graders.
“They picked it up actually good. I couldn’t be extra pleased with them,” Baker mentioned of his offensive line. “I knew my guys think about me. I simply got here out and did what I do finest — run the ball exhausting and proceed to do it.”
“That’s an enormous factor as a result of our offense runs by means of our tailback. He was able that he might have simply put himself within the tank, however he didn’t do this,” Coach Eilers mentioned of Baker.
The WB-ND protection did the remainder. With freshman lineman Jordan Nupp hounding Maeder’s each step, he helped power an errant throw, which Jinkens intercepted to seal the Falcons’ victory.
“That was the one time I felt snug all evening. I felt good. I like seeing our youngsters have fun,” Coach Eilers mentioned.
“I didn’t even know I used to be going to get the decide. I used to be in protection and I noticed it, grabbed it and ran,” Jinkens mentioned. “I noticed the dude in entrance of me, then he overthrew it and I ran and obtained the ball.”
“That’s in all probability the perfect recreation I’ve had all 12 months, even my JV video games. We obtained rolling. We obtained some good defensive lifts and we simply stored going,” Nupp mentioned.
The Falcons cherished the first-ever postseason victory lengthy into the evening. However there’s nonetheless loads of work forward.
“We knew we now have put in a lot work for these 4 years with our senior class. We put in loads of work. We went by means of actually robust video games,” Murphy mentioned. “We knew that this recreation wasn’t going to be our final as a result of we now have to make a superb remaining mark on the varsity.”
“It feels wonderful. We by no means did something like this. We’ve been ready so lengthy for a peak and we lastly obtained it,” Jinkens mentioned.
“This isn’t our final recreation. We not placing our stuff again. We’re going to win this recreation. We’re going to be practising once more on Monday,” Hoffman mentioned.
“It feels actually good, particularly as a freshman. That is the perfect I’ve felt all 12 months. We need to take this all the way in which to the finals,” Nupp mentioned.
“We’ve been on this state of affairs earlier than up at Eddyville and got here up brief. However to outscore an opponent, 30-6, within the second half was an enormous testomony to our youngsters,” Coach Eilers mentioned.
This group of men is one in all my favourite group of men of all-time. I’m going to recollect them for the remainder of my life,” Ethan Eilers mentioned. “I like each single one in all these guys. Typically I don’t like them, however I like them on a regular basis. That is wonderful. That is completely wonderful.”