PREP FOOTBALL: On to the finals for Flying Dutchmen
EDGERTON -- Jordan Gunnink called it the biggest touchdown of his career. It was definitely the most important score of the season. Trailing for the first time all year, the Edgerton/Ellsworth football team needed points any way it could to win. ...
EDGERTON -- Jordan Gunnink called it the biggest touchdown of his career.
It was definitely the most important score of the season.
Trailing for the first time all year, the Edgerton/Ellsworth football team needed points any way it could to win.
Gunnink capped a 65-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run, sending the Flying Dutchmen to the Section 3 9-man finals with a 20-14 victory against Hills-Beaver Creek Saturday afternoon.
"I knew our team had it in us," Gunnink said. "The coaches told us we had to handle adversity sometime and this just has to be it."
With 7:02 remaining in the game, the Dutchmen looked at the scoreboard and saw an unfamiliar sight: They were losing.
"It's the first time all year we've had to handle adversity," E/E senior Brady Timmer said. "We handled it quite well. Our coaches have prepared us throughout the year."
Trailing 14-12, the Dutchmen started their drive at their own 45-yard line, where their high-powered offense went to work.
"I was thinking if we were going to do it, this was the time we have to do it," E/E quarterback Dylan Voge said. "We can handle the adversity, we handled a little bit previous against the same team, but not near to that extent."
Facing a crucial fourth-and-one Gunnink ran around the left edge, picking up 14 yards and a key first down to keep the drive alive.
Voge then found Casey Schilling for a nine-yard gain before Adam LaFollette picked up a first down on a four-yard run.
Five plays later, E/E had a second-and-goal with 2:30 remaining.
The senior plunged in from four yards out, giving the Flying Dutchmen an 18-14 advantage.
"Coach had really good play calls and our line did a heck of a job. Our backs ran hard, held on to the ball and we just scored," Gunnink said. "I saw the hole and I hit it. Our line made a nice hole and I just got in."
Voge found Schilling for the two-point conversion as E/E took a 20-14 lead.
But with 2:05 remaining, the game was far from over.
"I felt that we could do it," Voge said. "Having that confidence of being able to drive down the field and get in the end zone, I felt that was enough confidence to stop them on defense."
Turns out, he was right.
H-BC quarterback Jordan Larson found Dalton Bass for a 35-yard gain on the first play of the ensuing possession, but after an incomplete pass, Timmer stepped up to make a game-ending play.
Larson threw a jump ball, but it was Timmer who came away with the interception.
"I knew they were going to go deep," Timmer said. "I just kind of got lucky and picked it off."
The Flying Dutchmen were able to run out the final 1:25, sending them to a section final matchup against Wheaton.
"Football is a great game, but it's always a lot more fun when you're way ahead," E/E head coach Andrew Fleischman said. "All of a sudden, when you're down and there is seven minutes to go and you're looking at your first loss and being done in the eye, that's when you know what you're made of. I'm really proud of our boys to respond the way that they did."
Early in the game, the Flying Dutchmen (10-0) didn't look like the team that averages more than 50 points per game.
The Dutchmen had two fumbles and a false start in their first three plays.
Neither team could move the ball much in the first quarter as the first three possessions each ended with a punt.
"They did a real good job of stopping our run game right away," Schilling said. "They have those two big tackles and they got good linebacker play from Taylor Leuthold."
Leuthold finished with 20 tackles for the Patriots, as they held E/E to 191 yards rushing.
Gunnink had 71 yards rushing, while Timmer had 59.
However, the Dutchmen were able to move the ball in the air.
"Our line played a great game," Schilling said. "They were giving Voge as much time as he needed and Voge was putting it in the right spot. He was making it easy to catch the ball."
Voge was 15-for-28 passing for 219 yards.
"I think they tried to game plan against our run game because we beat them pretty good on our run game, so we had to go back to our pass," the quarterback said. "We had awesome blocking from our line. Most of the time I had all day back there."
Voge added 51 yards rushing as he accounted for 270 yards of total offense.
"Dylan does a great job," Fleischman said. "He played some quarterback last year, but for his first year really being the man and being the starter, he's just been phenomenal for us, I just can't say enough."
Schilling had seven receptions for 86 yards, while Timmer had two catches for 67 yards.
"We were keying on the run so much that sometimes we got caught up looking in the backfield and a couple times, the receivers got behind us and they were able to make some plays," H-BC head coach Rex Metzger said. "Voge stepped up and made a few nice passes."
One of those was a nine-yard touchdown pass to Schilling at the end of the first quarter as E/E went ahead 6-0.
That lead jumped to 12-0 as Voge found Timmer on a screen to the left side.
Timmer broke through tackles, stayed on his feet and scored from 59 yards out, giving E/E a two-score lead.
"It was well blocked and I broke a couple tackles," Timmer said. "I just found a hole and ended up on my feet."
But late in the third quarter, H-BC got on the board.
Larson completed a 67-yard touchdown pass to Seth Nuffer, and after Dalton Bass scored the two-point conversion, the Patriots were tailing 12-8.
"We talked about it all week, we said if we can get into the fourth quarter with them, it's anybody's game," Metzger said. "They haven't been in that position all year. They've jumped out on teams big and had their starters out in the second and third quarter."
The Patriots (7-3) scored again on a big play.
Larson, who finished with 265 yards passing, found Cory Tilstra for a 75-yard score, giving the Patriots a 14-12 lead with seven minutes remaining.
"That was the first time we've been behind all year and it was a heck of a time," Fleischman said. "We knew it was going to be this way. We have a lot of respect for Hills, they are an excellent team."
But in the end, it was the Flying Dutchmen who came out with the win.
"That's the drive we needed," Timmer said. "We needed to put something together and we did. I'm just glad it came in the fourth quarter."
Bass, who had been racking up yards in recent games, was held to 29 yards on 15 carries.
Jonny Bouw had 10 tackles to lead the E/E defensive effort, while Derek Voge had nine stops and Gunnink and Johnny Menning each had eight tackles.
E/E played anything but a clean game. It fumbled six times and was called for 10 penalties for 115 yards.
The Flying Dutchmen will face Wheaton on Friday at the Fargodome for the right to advance to state. The Warriors defeated Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 28-12 on Saturday.
H-BC 0 0 8 6 -- 14
E/E 6 6 0 8 -- 20