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|9/18/2013 ||Email this article Print this article |
Big first half helps Sabers topple rival Maquoketa 28-21
|Central seniors Riley McDowell (76) and Jake Feldpausch combine to bring down Maquoketa running back Cohl Kueter during the first half of the Sabers’ 28-21 win over the Cardinals. Feldpausch had six tackles in the game and also racked up a team-high 121 yards on the ground with a touchdown, while McDowell had three tackles, including a sack in Central’s victory.|
By Ross Eberhart
In football, all it takes is an instant for momentum to switch from one team to the other.
A fact both the Central and Maquoketa football teams learned first-hand during the latest meeting of their long-storied rivalry, Friday night in DeWitt.
In a game loaded with twists and turns and big plays galore, it was the Sabers who earned bragging rights for the second year in a row, holding off a late Cardinal comeback attempt for a 28-21 victory.
"The game certainly went back-and-forth there during the second half," Central head coach Mike Miller said. "I was really impressed with the way our kids stayed with the gameplan and responded to some adversity."
The game's unpredictable tone was set in the opening minute as Maquoketa struck first and did it with its defense as Jacob Kloft grabbed an errant Marty Green pass and returned it 27 yards to the end zone for a touchdown.
The visitors added the extra point and it was 7-0 Cardinals just 45 seconds into the game.
It did not take long for the Sabers to respond either.
Senior Jake Kagemann returned the ensuing kickoff to the 28-yard line and then a play later took a handoff from Green and galloped 49 yards to the Maquoketa 23.
Five plays later, Central was in the end zone with Green finishing the six-play drive with a three-yard touchdown. Keegan Lass added the extra point and things were knotted up at 7.
"That was big," Miller said of the Sabers' answer. "I was really pleased how the kids responded after the interception - they were incredibly focused."
The Cardinals' first drive of the game ended up going backward and soon Central had the ball again.
They did not have it for long as senior Jake Feldpausch received the ball on the first play of the Sabers' next drive and sprinted 67 yards for a touchdown. Lass added the extra point and all of a sudden it was 14-7 Sabers still less than five minutes into the game.
Maquoketa went three-and-out on its next drive and the Sabers had a chance to really take control of the game, especially when they opened their next possession with a 35-yard Tyler Stillmunkes run to the Cardinal 13-yard line.
A short run coupled with a facemask penalty made it second-and-two at the five, but the Sabers were stopped on three-straight plays and the Cardinals took over on its own four.
Maquoketa responded to its defense's big stand by producing its best drive of the first half.
The team advanced out of the shadow of its own end zone in just three plays, the last of which was a 25-yard pass that gave the Cardinals a first-and-10 at midfield.
Maquoketa picked up another first down before a personal foul created a first-and-25 on the Cardinals' side of the 50. Maquoketa, though, converted that, too, to push the ball just outside the Saber red zone.
That is when the Central defense came alive. The Sabers stopped a pair of Maquoketa runs (with an incomplete pass in between) to force a fourth down and then stopped quarterback Trent Bollman well short of the first down marker to regain possession.
The Saber offense came up with its own big play with Kagemann getting loose again, this time for a 32-yard gain to the Maquoketa 46.
Central stayed on the ground for 10 of its next 11 plays (the lone pass attempt was completed to Emmitt Enyeart for seven yards) and Stillmunkes finished off Central's drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Lass added the extra point and it was 21-7.
Maquoketa's very next drive yielded a single yard and Central again had a chance to seize control of the contest.
The Sabers moved into Cardinal territory after two first downs by Feldpausch (one on a run, the other on a reception), but had their drive end in a unique play.
Green attempted a pass up the seam to senior Carter Cahill, but the ball was deflected into the air at the last second. When the ball did land, it came down on Cahill's shoulders, which kept it in the air long enough for Maquoketa's Will Tubbs to grab it for an interception.
The Cardinals took a knee to end the half and it was 21-7 Sabers.
Maquoketa also received the opening possession of the second half and, much like in the game's opening minutes, they seized the early momentum when Bollman found receiver Cory Wirth for a 44-yard pass play to the Saber 12-yard line.
The Cardinals tried to pound their way into the end zone, running on three-straight plays, but the Sabers held firm and forced a fourth down situation.
This time, Maquoketa went for a pass with Bollman rolling to his right. The quarterback spied a received in the corner of the end zone, but Feldpausch lunged to knock the ball away at the last second causing the Cardinals to turn the ball over on downs.
Central followed the big turn of events with a time-chewing drive that deflated its visitors.
Feldpausch provided the first big play of the drive as he caught a pass in the flat, slipped a tackle and bolted 30 yards to convert a third-and-five from Central's own 10 yard line.
Maquoketa forced another third down, but again the Sabers converted through the air with Stillmunkes grabbing a Green pass and rumbling 29 yards. Central, though, was called for a penalty on the play and it was brought back.
The Sabers' second chance at third down ended in a short run and the Cardinals had forced Central to punt.
Only the snap did not go to the punter, but instead the upback, Ryan Burke, who handed off to Kagemann, who found nothing but open space on the Saber sideline en route to a 29-yard gain.
A penalty on Central's very next play put the Sabers behind the eight ball again, but a 15-yard pass from Green to Stillmunkes on third down still gave the Sabers a manageable fourth down situation (fourth-and-four) at the Cardinal 21.
Central did not even need to snap the ball as a hard count drew Maquoketa offsides and gave the Sabers a free five yards for another first down.
Three plays later, Central was in the end zone as Green scored his second touchdown on the ground (this one from five yards outs). Lass added the extra point and the Sabers seemingly had the game in hand.
Things were not over quite yet, though, as Lass' ensuing kickoff was grabbed off the bounce by Ben Strathman, who found a crease in the Sabers' kick coverage and returned the ball 83 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good and very quickly it was 28-14.
The Sabers picked up one first down on its ensuing possession, but then had its drive torpedoed by a chop block penalty and Central was forced to punt the ball back to the Cardinals with a little over 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Maquoketa responded with its first offensive touchdown of the game. The key play of the drive was a 37-yard pass from Bollman to Strathman on third down that pushed the ball into Saber territory.
The Cardinals picked up three more first downs and then got into the end zone with four minutes remaining on a one-yard run by Kloft. The point after try was on target and it was 28-21.
The Sabers brought out their hands team in anticipation of an onside kick, but the attempt never came and the Central offense trotted out to the field looking to ice the game away.
Instead, the Cardinals forced a three-and-out and the Sabers had to punt the ball away.
Confusion on Maquoketa's side of the ball, though, ended up biting the visitors as the Cardinals were penalized for having too many men on the field, giving the Sabers a free first down.
That allowed Central to drain another 30 seconds from the clock, while forcing the Cardinals to use all three of their timeouts.
When Maquoketa did get the ball back there was less than two minutes remaining and the Central defense raised its play one final time.
On first down, Bollman was wrapped up and sacked by senior Riley McDowell for a loss of four yards.
The very next play saw Bollman attempt a long pass along the sideline. The ball, though, was grabbed by Enyeart and the Sabers ran the remainder of the time off the clock.
The Sabers dominated the game statistically, outgaining the Cardinals by nearly 200 yards, while picking up six first downs and holding the ball for more than five minutes.
"With the exception of a play here or there, I think the defense really did a good job of making them earn their yards," Miller said. "We just need to keep working to prevent those big plays."
Feldpausch and Kagemann spurred a Central rushing attack that piled up 350 yards on the ground. The former led the way with 121 yards on nine carries with a touchdown, while the latter added 118 yards on just eight carries.
Stillmunkes added 69 yards and a touchdown with Green picking up 41 yards and two scores.
Stillmunkes and Feldpausch both had two grabs in the game with Enyeart catching the last of Green's five completions.
Senior Drew Schroeder paced the Central defense with 10 tackles, including seven solo stops, while Kagemann and Feldpausch both had six. Stillmunkes and McDowell had sacks in the game with Enyeart coming up with the interception.
After two-straight games at home, the Sabers hit the road for a road contest with Benton.
The Bobcats will have plenty of confidence after they snapped a six-game losing streak with a 21-14 victory over Clear Creek-Amana.
"They're much improved," Miller said of the Bobcats, who fell to the Sabers 49-14 last season. "They have a line that can move people off the ball. They are young, but they have been making evident