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Beavers blow by Eagles in region semifinal
Falls City senior Royce Leonhardt heads for the end zone and 6 points after reeling in a pass from fellow senior Cameron Soto. Leonhardt and the Beavers defeated Woodsboro 46-6 on Nov. 30 in a regional semifinal game.
Falls City 46
FLORESVILLE -- Although officially a regional semifinal game, Falls City’s Nov. 30 football game with Woodsboro was really a rematch from a District 14-1A DII meeting early this year. When the teams met back in October, the Beavers earned a narrow 8-point victory. This time around, however, there was nothing close about it, as Falls City ran away with a convincing 46-6 win over the Eagles.
Woodsboro took the opening kickoff to start the game. The Beaver defense made a statement early, though, and held the Eagles to a quick three-and-out. The punt was short, and Falls City started its first drive inside Woodsboro territory at the 47-yard line.
Senior running back Jon Swierc picked up 9 yards on the first play of the drive, and then senior quarterback Cameron Soto ran all the way down to the 15-yard line on second down. An unsportsmanlike penalty moved the ball half the distance to the goal line, and the Beavers faced first-and-goal from the 7. Phillip Lyssy eventually punched the ball in from a yard out, and Beaver Nation celebrated the early lead. Cody Jendrusch booted the extra point, and Falls City led 7-0 with 8:11 to play in the first.
Woodsboro responded well, though. After beginning their next drive at their own 45-yard line, the Eagles soon found themselves knocking on the door. The Beaver defense put up a great goal-line stand, though, forcing the Eagles into a fourth-and-goal situation. Woodsboro called a timeout to think about things, but opted to go for it on fourth rather than attempt a field goal. The Eagles drew up a passing play over the right side, but the ball fell incomplete, and Falls City took over at their own 3-yard line.
Soto gave himself and the Beavers a little breathing room with a good run to the 17 on first down, and then Swierc moved Falls City out to midfield with another big run. Unfortunately for the Beavers, their drive came to a halt when a third-down passing play was picked off by a Woodsboro defender.
The Eagles tried to capitalize on the shift in momentum, and even converted on a fourth-and-2 to keep their drive alive. Woodsboro got near the red zone, but soon found itself in another fourth-down situation. The Eagles went to the air in search of 4 yards, but junior Austen Camber made a play on the ball, and came up with an interception, giving the ball back to the Falls City offense at its own 17-yard line.
On first down, Soto kept the ball and ran around the left side of his blockers, racing down the sideline before being tackled out of bounds at the Woodsboro 14-yard line. Lyssy eventually ran the ball in from 3 yards out, picking up his second touchdown of the game, and giving the Beavers a 13-0 advantage.
After stopping Woodsboro near midfield, the Beavers went back to work in the closing minutes of the first half. Swierc electrified the crowd with a big run to the Woodsboro 24-yard line, and Falls City kept the drive alive with a big passing play on third-and-11. Soto eventually scored on a 12-yard run into the end zone, and Jendrusch kicked the extra point to make it a 20-0 game at the break.
Falls City got the ball to start the second half, and the Beavers wasted little time before adding to the scoreboard. Swierc eventually ran it in from 13 yards out, and the Beaver lead was 26-0.
Another big defensive effort gave the ball right back to the Falls City offense, and the Beavers scored their fifth touchdown of the night on a 19-yard passing play from Soto to junior receiver Dean Gaskamp. Jendrusch was good on the point-after attempt, and the score was 33-0 with 8:15 to play in the third.
Woodsboro scored its lone touchdown of the game at the 1:25 mark of the third quarter on a 7-yard passing play. The point-after attempt failed, and the score was 33-6 moving into the final quarter.
While the Beaver defense continued to hold strong, and didn’t allow another Eagle score, the Falls City offense wasn’t quite finished on the night, as the Beavers added two additional touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Soto connected with Royce Leonhardt for a 9-yard touchdown strike with 10:08 to play in the game, and then Soto scored a final touchdown with 7:28 to play on a thrilling 64-yard run for a touchdown. Jendrusch kicked one of the two extra points, and the final score stood at 46-6 in favor of Falls City.
Soto led the Beaver offense by land and by air. Soto ran the ball 19 times for 252 yards and two touchdowns, and also completed 8 of 11 passes for another 98 yards and two more touchdowns. Swierc ran well, gaining 130 yards and a touchdown on just eight touches, while Lyssy ran six times for 22 yards and two touchdowns. Gaskamp was the Beavers’ leading receiver with 39 yards and a touchdown on two catches, Leonhardt had 21 yards and a touchdown on two receptions, and Stephen Harlos caught two passes for 12 yards. Lyssy caught one pass for 23 yards, and Cody Houdmann caught a pass for 3 paces.
Junior linebacker Eric Wiatrek was a monster on the night, leading the Beaver defense with 15 tackles. Fellow junior Tyler Malcolm tallied 12 tackles, and Leonhardt made nine tackles during his plays on defense. Colton Beam and Jacob Hinds also played well defensively, combining for another 13 tackles.
With the win, the Beavers now advance to the regional final/state quarterfinal, where they will face the Burton Panthers. Burton bumped the Beavers from the playoffs in the same game last year, upsetting Falls City by the final score of 55-30. Burton is currently 11-1, and is coming off a 19-0 win over D’Hanis.
Falls City and Burton will play this Friday, Dec. 7, at Rutledge Stadium on the campus of Judson High School. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Converse.
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