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Beavers fall to Burton, end run at state title
Phillip Lyssy (7) makes a diving catch for a 2-point conversion during the Falls City Beavers’ loss to Burton in the state quarterfinals.
Falls City 30
BUDA -- In a rematch of last year’s Region IV title game, the Falls City Beaver football team found itself on the short end of the stick Dec. 2, and fell to the Burton Panthers 55-30 at Hays High School.
The game served as both the Region IV title game and the state quarterfinal round of competition. Both teams were up to the challenge, but Burton had a little payback in mind, and hit the Beavers hard in the first quarter.
The first points of the game came at the 7:30 mark of the first quarter, as a Panther drive stalled short of the goal line. Burton opted to kick a field goal, and Xavier Bethany made the kick from 24 yards out for a 3-0 Panther lead.
On the Beavers’ next possession, the Panther defense came up with a big play as Juwan Mathis pulled down a “pick-6” for Burton, intercepting a Falls City passing attempt and returning it 56 yards for a touchdown. The point-after attempt was no good, but it was a two-possession game with the score at 9-0.
Falls City made some progress on its next possession, but the ball eventually went back over to the Panthers. Burton then drove down into Falls City territory, and scored its second touchdown of the night on a 22-yard passing play from Bethany to Brandon Green. The extra point was good, and the Panthers took a 16-0 lead into the second quarter.
Falls City finally got on track midway through the second quarter, as Phillip Lyssy scored the Beavers’ first touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run from scrimmage. Falls City quarterback Cameron Soto then connected with Lyssy for the 2-point conversion, and the score stood at 16-8 with 6:18 to play in the half.
Burton wasted little time after getting the ball back, and Mathis quickly scored after finding a hole in the Beaver defense. He rumbled 65 yards for the touchdown, taking just 15 seconds to answer the score by Falls City. Bethany kicked another extra point, and the score was 23-8 with 6:03 left on the clock.
The Beavers have the ability to strike quickly, too, and Falls City used less than a minute of the clock before scoring again. Jon Swierc capped off the quick drive with a 3-yard run into the end zone, and Soto hit Dean Gaskamp for the 2-point conversion to make the score 23-16.
As the game quickly morphed into a scoring frenzy of sorts, the Panthers proved their last touchdown wasn’t a fluke. Mathis scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 4:11 to play in the half, and Falls City responded with a touchdown run from Soto. Both teams kicked extra points, and the score was 30-23 with 1:42 left on the second-quarter clock.
Believe it or not, the scoring wasn’t over. Burton put together one final first-half drive, and scored on a 1-yard dive from Bethany with just three ticks remaining on the clock. The extra point was no good, but the Panthers took a 36-23 advantage into the break.
While a great battle continued in the second half, most of the third quarter passed without a score. Then, with just over two minutes remaining in the third, Bethany raced 31 yards for a touchdown. He kicked his own extra point, and the game continued to slip away from Falls City with the score now 43-23.
The Beavers battled back down the field, and eventually found the end zone on a 24-yard run from Soto at the 11:06 mark of the fourth quarter. Scott Lyssy booted the point after, and the Beavers were back to within two scores at 43-30.
Unfortunately for Falls City, that is as close as they would get to a comeback. The Panthers went on to score two additional touchdowns, locking up the win by the final score of 55-30.
On paper, the teams were quite evenly matched. Burton earned just 17 more yards than Falls City, and had three fewer first downs. Falls City was penalized eight times for 51 yards, though, while the Panthers drew just one flag for 15 yards. The Beavers also had two turnovers, while Burton had none.
Soto completed 8 of 22 passing attempts for 143 yards during the game, and Gaskamp was his leading receiver with four grabs for 68 yards. Phillip Lyssy had three catches for 58 yards, and Wade Jimerson caught a pass for 17 yards.
On the ground, Soto led the running game with 90 yards on 22 carries, followed by Phillip Lyssy with 80 yards on 15 carries. Swierc tallied 37 yards on 11 carries, and Tyler Wiatrek ran the ball three times for 23 yards. Gaskamp ran once for 9 yards.
The loss ends the Beavers’ 2011 campaign with a season record of 10-3. Falls City lost its first two games of the year to Stockdale and Poth, and then blew past the remainder of its regular-season opponents to win the District 16-1A title and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Beavers beat Milano for the area championship, and then beat Bruni for the second time this year to grab the regional semifinal championship and a trip to the state quarterfinals.
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