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PREP FOOTBALL: E/E loses heartbreaker

MARSHALL -- Casey Schilling was speechless. A junior on Edgerton/Ellsworth's football team, Schilling couldn't find the words to describe what had happened following the Flying Dutchmen's 29-28 loss. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the 11-yard line...

E/E's Gunnink
Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Flying Dutchman senior Jordan Gunnink (18) dives for the end zone scoring the first of two fourth-quarter touchdowns during Friday night's playoff game in Marshall.

MARSHALL -- Casey Schilling was speechless.

A junior on Edgerton/Ellsworth's football team, Schilling couldn't find the words to describe what had happened following the Flying Dutchmen's 29-28 loss.

Facing a fourth-and-goal from the 11-yard line in overtime, Lanesboro was in desperation mode.

With E/E leading 28-22, Burro quarterback Lucas Johnson dropped back and off his back foot, threw a perfect touchdown strike to Niko Anderson, tying the game. A PAT kick sealed the one-point victory in Friday's Class 9-man state quarterfinal game.

It was Edgerton's first loss of the season.

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"I can't even find a word to say about this," Schilling said. "We had the game won. That was a good throw, fading away, throwing to the back of the end zone. It was a great ball and a great catch, that's all you can say about it."

The Burros advance to play Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke in the semifinals Friday at the Metrodome -- the game E/E wanted to be in.

"This is really tough," E/E senior Brady Timmer said. "The season is over and all I wanted to do was go to the Metrodome. But we came back and fought and made it a game. At least we ended on a good game instead of a bad game."

With the score tied at 22-all, E/E took possession to start overtime.

After a loss on the first play, quarterback Dylan Voge found Schilling for an eight-yard gain. Voge scored from three yards out, giving E/E a six-point lead.

The conversion pass failed as Lanesboro took possession.

The Burros lost a yard on the first play, and after consecutive incomplete passes, faced a fourth-and-goal from the 11.

"I felt like if we could get them in an obvious passing situation, we'd be good," E/E head coach Andrew Fleischman said. "I was worried about them running the ball right down our throat. We did that, we stopped them, and give them credit for making a play on fourth down when they had to."

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Under pressure, Johnson completed a pass to Anderson for six and Braden Hanson kicked the PAT, giving Lanesboro the win.

"It's awful hard to fight back so hard," Fleischman said. "If someone told you that in the fourth quarter that you'd have one play to win the game, that's a great comeback. Give them credit, they made a play when they had to, just like we made lots of plays when we had to. Unfortunately, it just came down to a conversion and it just didn't work out for us."

Early on, it looked like the Flying Dutchmen might run away with the game -- literally.

On their second play from scrimmage, Jordan Gunnink raced 64 yards for a touchdown on a sweep play up the right sideline. Voge found Johnny Menning for the two-point conversion as E/E had an 8-0 lead.

"We thought we were going to be able to run outside all game," Gunnink said. "But they changed their defense and blitzed a guy off the edge every time and we couldn't stop that."

However, the Flying Dutchmen wouldn't score during the next two-and-a-half quarters. Meanwhile, Anderson scored from three yards out and Jake Reed added a four-yard score as Lanesboro took a 16-8 advantage.

"We left some points on the board in the first half," Fleischman said. "Lanesboro has a good team and a good defense that forces you into some mistakes and forces you into some things you don't want to do. They are a good team and when you play good teams, you're going to make mistakes. Unfortunately, we left some points on the board. That's kind of how it goes sometimes."

It seemed like nothing could go right for the Flying Dutchmen in the first half.

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"Some bad things were going through our heads and we knew we had to pick it up," Timmer said. "Mistakes really hurt us in the beginning. If we would have played like we did in the second half the whole game, maybe we could have come out with the victory."

Gunnink and Schilling both lost fumbles to thwart drives for E/E in the first half.

But perhaps the biggest bounces went the way of Lanesboro.

With a third-and-25 starring them in the face, the Burros opted for a simple run play up the middle. Reed was taken down short of the first down, but fumbled the ball. The ball ended up in the hands of Jerimia Brown -- past the marker.

"A lot of things went against us," Fleischman said. "Give our players credit, they kept fighting and hung in there. All we ask is that the kids come out and give it everything they have. We got that and we can be proud of that and of the year we had."

Two plays later, Lanesboro capped the drive with a six-yard run by Anderson to take a 22-8 lead.

"It was very frustrating," Gunnink said. "We had no luck tonight in the first half at all."

After a scoreless third quarter, the Flying Dutchmen needed a rally in the fourth quarter.

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"We had to persevere, we didn't want the season to be over," Schilling said. "We just have to keep going and play like it's 0-0. We can't ever get high or low."

Taking over on their own 3-yard line with 8:34 remaining in the game, the Flying Dutchmen went to work.

"The first half, we came out kind of sluggish, we let them penetrate a lot," Gunnink said. "The first drive was actually good. The second quarter was a little rough, but the third quarter was better. In the fourth quarter, we finally started getting our way and started scoring. But we didn't start out well."

Voge found Brady Timmer on a back-side screen for a big 23-yard gain and followed with an 11-yard pass to Schilling as E/E was driving.

After a two-yard pass to Timmer, Voge found Schilling for a 33-yard gain before the quarterback scrambled for a 20-yard gain.

Gunnink capped the drive with a 10-yard score, but the two-point conversion failed, keeping the score 22-14 for Lanesboro.

The E/E defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession and gave its offense the ball on its own 49-yard line with 4:04 remaining.

Voge ran for two yards on the first play, but two consecutive incomplete passes set up a critical fourth-and-8 with 2:55 remaining.

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Schilling was able to find some open space up the right sideline and Voge put the ball right where it needed to be as the two hooked up for a 20-yard gain and a critical first down.

"It was just an in route and one of my best plays," Schilling said. "Dylan threw it and if I would have dropped it, I would have lost the game for us. You can't drop that ball."

Timmer followed with a seven-yard run before Gunnink again capped the drive with a run to pay dirt. The senior scored from nine yards out, bringing the Dutchmen within two.

Gunnink wasn't going to be denied on the conversion. The senior blasted into the end zone, tying the score at 22-all.

"I just wanted to score," Gunnink said. "I didn't want to be done. I love football very much, it's my favorite sport. I was just thinking, 'I want to score, I don't want to be done.'"

Lanesboro had the ball deep in E/E territory in the final seconds, but couldn't find the end zone as the game was headed to overtime. In the extra frame, the Burros made the final play, sealing the win.

"It hurts now," Fleischman said. "You hope that when the boys come out, they have some memories and some things that happened that they will remember. This is a memorable game and they'll remember this one their whole lives, even though it didn't go our way. There are a lot of positives they can take not only from this year, but from this game."

E/E 8 0 0 14 6 -- 28

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Lanesboro 8 14 0 0 7 -- 29

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