The rushing game wasn’t clicking, but Iola-Scandinavia still came close to pulling off what would have been the biggest upset so far in the state high school football playoffs.
Defending Division 6 state champion Edgar escaped Thunderbird Field with a 23-20 Level 2 playoff win and extended its winning streak to 25 games. The Thunderbirds, on the other hand, saw their season end at 6-5.
The T-Birds opened the game with a 19-play, 70-yard drive capped by Ronnie Knapstein’s score from a yard out on fourth down. The drive lasted almost half of the first quarter and the Wildcats found themselves trailing for the first time this season.
Edgar responded with its own touchdown drive, with Jorie Skrzypchak scoring from 13 yards out. The Wildcats took the lead on Kyle Schueller’s run for the two-point conversion.
I-S struck again in the second quarter, as Jake Metz and Bradly Hardel hooked up for a 35-yard touchdown pass. The Wildcats scored later in the period on Skrzypchak’s 2-yard run. Dalton Lehman found the end zone for the two-point conversion and Edgar led 16-14 at the half.
Skrzypchak’s third touchdown of the game, this one from 2 yards out, in the third quarter gave the Wildcats a 23-14 lead, but the T-Birds weren’t finished, as they drove 75 yards in seven plays with Devin Peterson scoring from a yard out to cut the lead to 23-20.
Peterson, the T-Birds’ leading rusher this season, was held to minus-3 yards on 10 carries, but Metz completed eight of 12 passes, including a 60-yarder to Lucas Albers, for 166 yards.
“This was a game where one or two big plays made a difference,” coach Scott Erickson said.
The T-Birds had the ball near midfield with just over two minutes to play, but Jeff Raymond and Nevin Smith ended the threat with consecutive sacks.
The Wildcats outgained the T-Birds 317-198.
Edgar will face another Central Wisconsin 8 Conference team in the third round of the playoffs, as the Wildcats host Stevens Point Pacelli Saturday, Nov. 6.
Wild Rose 20
A 20-point third quarter helped the Thunderbirds defeat Wild Rose on the Wildcats’ home field Tuesday, Oct. 26, in the first round of the playoffs.
Peterson, who led all rushers with 189 yards, returned a kickoff 68 yards in the period for the T-Birds, while Brady Huettner and Metz also found the end zone.
The Wildcats took a 13-7 lead at halftime. Peterson scored on a 4-yard run in the first quarter, but Wild Rose quarterback Darren Hudziak scored on runs of 30 and 33 yards.
Wild Rose also scored in the third quarter, but couldn’t get any closer than seven points.
The T-Birds outrushed the Wildcats 298-146 and had a 13-4 advantage in first downs.