CEDAR?FALLS - The hopes for a shot at the state championship came to a close Saturday afternoon for the Emmetsburg E-Hawks. The 2012 season came to an end in an 18-7 loss for the E-Hawks at the hands of St. Albert's of Council Bluffs in the Class 1A playoff semi-final at the UNI?Dome.
"Penalties and mistakes really hurt us, but we lost to one heck of a football team," E-Hawk Head Coach Mike Dunlap said following the contest. "They were very physical up front and have tremendous athletes. They also have outstanding special teams that helped flip the field position in their favor."
The battle of field position was most evident for the E-Hawks in the first half of the contest. Emmetsburg won the toss and took the opening kick as Nick Schany collected the ball at the one-yard stripe and returned it to the 16.
HARD-FOUGHT?YARDAGE - E-Hawk Andrew Wellik tries to run out of a tackle attempt by St. Albert’s Matt Weihs durin action in Saturday’s semi-final playoff game. Wellik gained 96 yards off 32 rushing attempts in the 18-7 E-Hawk loss. -- Dan Voigt photo
Quarterback Jake Jackson brought the offense onto the turf of the UNI Dome as the battle commenced. Andrew Wellik started out with a two-yard run and the E-Hawks found themselves in a battle. St. Albert's defense answered the challenge and forced an E-Hawk punt, as the E-Hawks would only gain five yards in their first possession.
The Falcons would take over and moved the ball from the E-Hawk 34, only to be backed up off a motion penalty. St. Albert's would get back to Emmetsburg's 37 and would punt, setting up a touchback at the 20.
Once again, Emmetsburg's offense battled to gain yardage, with Wellik carrying three times to gain nine yards before Jackson punted a second time.
St. Albert's would take over and managed to string together a drive that picked up a first down and would drive to the E-Hawk 21 yard line, before Jon Meyerring booted a 42-yard field goal at the 4:24 to go in the quarter for a 3-0 St. Albert's lead.
Emmetsburg would earn a first down on the resulting possession, but would end up punting as the quarter wound down.
St. Albert's opened the second quarter with a punt and the E-Hawks took over at their own 27 yard line. But, an exchange of penalties by the two clubs would put the E-Hawks at their own 45 yard line before a punt would end the possession.
St. Albert's would end up punting on the resulting possession and Emmetsburg took over at their 20 yard line again, but on third down, Wellik had the ball knocked loose only to be recovered by the Falcons at the E-Hawk 18 yard line with 5:20 to go in the half.
The Falcons quickly took over and got a first down before quarterback Tucker Culjat looked to pass and then tucked the ball in to run in from 11 yards out to score with 2:45 to go in the half. On the extra point kick attempt, Austin McCartan got a hand up and knocked the conversion kick down, making the score 9-0.
Emmetsburg took the resulting kickoff out to the 17-yard line, but a block in the back penalty on the E-Hawks brought the ball back to the eight-yard line.
The E-Hawks tried to fight out of the hole, but a holding penalty would kill any hopes of getting out of the shadow of the goal posts and prompted a punt.
St. Albert's would take over at Emmetsburg's 31 yard line. The Falcons would strike quickly, as once again, Tucker Culjat saw the E-Hawks defense cover all receivers. Culjat tucked the ball in again and threaded his way through the defense to score from 26 yards away with 1:34 to play in the half.
Once again on the conversion kick, Austin McCartan burst through the line and knocked the PAT?kick down, making the score 15-0.
St. Albert's tried an onside kick but Josh Kibbie fell on the ball to give Emmetsburg the ball at their own 39 yard line with :24 to go in the half.
The E-Hawks would get one play off before the half ended and went to the locker room trailing 15-0 and looking for some answers.
Emmetsburg would kick off to the Falcons to start the second half of the contest, who would drive to the E-Hawk 10-yard line, but Emmetsburg's defense held fast. Facing fourth and 10, the Falcons sent Meyerring out to kick a 29-yard field goal with 9:54 to go in the third quarter for an 18-0 lead.
The E-Hawks got the ball back at their own 18 yard line and started the offense.
After the first running play went nowhere, a bad snap would be recovered by Jackson, setting up third down.
Jackson dropped back on the snap and looked downfield, spotted Wellik and delivered a 18 yard pass to the 33 yard line.
With a first down, the E-Hawks started driving, aided by a penalty against St. Albert's for pass interference, getting into St. Albert's territory for the first time in the game. Using passes and runs to keep the Falcons guessing, the E-Hawks got a 24 yard catch from Wellik to march down field, and with 4:16 to go in the third frame, Wellik found the end zone on an 11 yard run off the right sideline to break the E-Hawk goose-egg on the scoreboard. Nick Merwald put the conversion kick through the uprights for an 18-7 score.
St. Albert's would take over after the score and would end up punting back to the E-Hawks.
Starting at their own 26 yard line with 3:13 to go in the third, Emmetsburg looked to have the momentum, only to have the ball knocked loose and recovered by the Falcons at the E-Hawks' 29 yard line with 2:32 to go in the quarter.
E-Hawk 29 yard line.But, St. Albert's would be unable to capitalize on the turnover after a block in the back penalty, A pass by the Falcons would turn into a fumble recovered by Mitch Petersen for the E-Hawks at their own 24 yard line with :59 to go in the third quarter.
A holding penalty would back Emmetsburg up after a gain out to the 43 just before the quarter ended, but Emmetsburg worked back out to the 43.
It was go-time for the E-Hawks as the final quarter started. Jake Jackson began putting the ball in the air, hitting Austin McCartan to move Emmetsburg into the Falcons' territory. The E-Hawks would pick up a first down through rushing and then Jackson passed to Nick Schany for a 15 yard reception down to the 20.
The E-Hawks would work towards the goal but backed up on a holding call. Once again, Jackson passed, hitting Schany with a 13 yard strike down to the 12 yard line. A two-yard run by Wellik picked up the first and goal at the 10, giving the E-Hawks hope. A pass to Schany moved the ball to the seven, but a run by Jackson lost a yard and a pass to McCartan went nowhere, setting up fourth and goal at the eight.
With 6:37 to go in the game, Nick Merwald lined up for a 25 yard field goal, but the kick drifted wide to the left and just missed the upright.
St. Alberts' took over at their 20 and got to their own 38 but had to punt, giving Emmetsburg the ball back with 4:10 to go in the game at their own 29.
The E-Hawks came out firing as Jackson hit Schany with an 18 yard pass to the 47, but a personal foul on St. Albert's moved Emmetsburg to the Falcons' 37 yard line.
With a first down, Jackson hit McCartan with a 30 yard pass down to the seven yard line with 3:39 to go.
Emmetsburg would get down to the four yard line, and then Wellik rushed down to the one yard stripe, but on the next play, a motion penalty would back the E-Hawks up to the six.
Facing third and goal at the six, Jackson kept the ball and got five yards down to the one on the right side, but on fourth and goal, a fumbled snap would kill the scoring drive as the E-Hawks lost seven yards on the play and turned the ball over on downs with 2:13 to go in the contest.
St, Albert's would end up punting after a good defensive stand by the E-Hawks, giving the ball back to Emmetsburg at their 47 with 1:12 to play, and after a penalty for 12 men on the field against the Falcons, Emmetsburg took over at the St. Albert's 47.
A quick three-yard pass to Wellik was followed by an incompletion to McCartan. On third and one at the 44, Jackson hit Cody Henderson with a 10 yard shot for a first down at the 34. With the clock running down, Jackson passed again to Shay Mortenson down to the 26 yard line as time expired, ending the E-Hawks' season.
Emmetsburg gained just 115 yards off 47 attempts, while St. Albert's gained 152 yards off 38 rushes. Andrew Wellik would gain 96 yards off his 32 carries, while Jake Jackson added 23 yards off eight rushes. Cody Henderson picked up nine yards off three carries, while Austin McCartan had six yards off three carries and Nick Schany gained one yard on one rushing attempt.
Jake Jackson completed 15 of 19 passes for 167 yards, with Wellik catching four balls for 50 yards. Austin McCartan had four catches for 50 yards, while Nick Schany made four catches for 49 yards. Cody Henderson had a 10 yard catch and Shay Mortenson had an eight yard catch.
Defensively, Mitch Petersen had 12 tackles and Tanner Dahm made 11 stops, while Austin McCartan blocked two extra point kicks.
"Our defense certainly performed well, but our offense just didn't do their part in helping them out," Coach Dunlap said in retrospect. "I thought we played a lot better offensively in the second half, after we really struggled in the first half. But, I'm still proud of this team and the season they had."