Edgerton returns to state quarterfinals
EDGERTON -- Scoring a touchdown in each quarter, and stepping up defensively in the second half Saturday afternoon, the Edgerton Flying Dutchmen won the Section 2 9-Man football title with a 28-14 victory over Westbrook-Walnut Grove.
The victory puts the Flying Dutchmen in the state playoffs for the third straight season, as they will travel to Underwood -- which beat Verndale, 28-14, in the Section 4 title game --Friday night at 7 p.m.
Senior quarterback Trey Manitz (4-for-14 passing, 147 yards; five carries for 61 yards) threw a pair of long touchdown passes to help Edgerton gain a 20-14 lead after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, Manitz helped the Flying Dutchmen seal the victory with a 25-yard touchdown run, and a key interception on W-WG's final drive.
"It was good to see Trey step up and make some big plays for us," Edgerton head coach Andrew Fleischman said. "Our defense played very well in the second half, as our linemen put more pressure on -- which helped create some turnovers."
Things started with W-WG (7-4) taking a quick 6-0 lead, as the Chargers scored on the game's first possession.
Brian Theisen (8-for-17 passing, 67 yards) completed a pair of nice passes to Austin Quade (14 yards) and Prestin Parker (23 yards) to help the Chargers move the ball from their own 43-yard line to the Edgerton 10.
With 9:09 left in the opening period, Jake Wahl (27 carries for 82 yards) capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run on a sweep to the left. The two-point try failed, and the Chargers led 6-0.
Edgerton (10-1) came back and took the lead on the ensuing possession, as Kevin Vander Schaaf -- running behind the lead blocking of Justin Van Grootheest on the left side -- raced 28 yards for a touchdown with 5:07 left in the first quarter. Vander Schaaf strolled in for the two-point conversion, giving Edgerton an 8-6 lead.
W-WG regained the lead early in the second quarter as Joe Doubler blocked a Kent Van't Hof punt. Wahl recovered the loose ball at Edgerton's 14-yard line, setting up Theisen's 17-yard touchdown pass to Derek Eichner. Wahl ran in for the two-pointer, and W-WG led 14-8 with 9:59 left in the second quarter.
Edgerton's Pat Kleinjan later made two key plays. First, he recovered a fumble by Wahl. Then, he tied the game by hauling in a 58-yard touchdown pass from Manitz. The two-point try was no good, and the game was tied at 14-all with 4:58 left in the first half.
W-WG had one last chance to score before halftime, as Wahl broke off a 20-yard run before finding Parker on a 13-yard halfback option pass to move the Chargers to Edgerton's 4-yard line.
However, Edgerton kept the Chargers out of the end zone, and the score remained tied heading to halftime.
Edgerton scored the eventual game-winning points on its second possession of the third quarter, as Vander Schaaf got behind W-WG's secondary and made a nifty over-the-shoulder catch from Manitz at his own 40-yard line.
Vander Schaaf (33 carries for 111 yards; 14 tackles) sprinted the final 60 yards to complete the 85-yard scoring play. The two-point attempt was no good, and Edgerton was up 20-14 with 5:09 remaining in the third quarter.
Brandon Gunnink (12 tackles) made a diving interception early in the fourth quarter, giving Edgerton the ball at W-WG's 28-yard line.
Three plays later, Manitz displayed his shiftiness when he scored on a 25-yard touchdown dash on an option play. He found a diving Vander Schaaf for the two-point conversion, and Edgerton led 28-14 with 7:31 left in the fourth quarter.
W-WG tried coming back, but both drives stalled, including its final one when Manitz came up with an interception with 2:36 left in the game.
The Flying Dutchmen then ran out the clock after that, sending them to the state quarterfinals once again.
"It came down to a couple of big plays by them, and a couple of missed opportunities on our part," W-WG co-head coach Carter Ross said. "We had pretty good field position for most of the game, but we made some mistakes that cost us."
W-WG 6 8 0 0 -- 14
Edgerton 8 6 6 8 -- 28