Thunderbirds come up short
Ledgers flagged for five personal fouls
By Greg Seubert
Down by two touchdowns in the first half and about to go down by three, things weren’t exactly looking rosy for the Iola-Scandinavia football team.
However, a goal-line stand at the end of the first half gave the Thunderbirds the momentum they needed to stay with St. Mary’s Springs, the defending Division 6 state champions.
The T-Birds trailed 14-0 at halftime and eventually tied the Division 6 Level 2 playoff game played Oct. 30 at Thunderbird Field in Scandinavia twice, but fell to the Ledgers 28-21 after a last-second pass on the game’s final play fell incomplete.
Springs capped its opening drive with Blake Bauer’s 39-yard pass to Joshua Moul with 8:24 to go in the first quarter and the Ledgers added to their lead with Clay Schueffner’s 6-yard run with 10:52 to go in the first half.
After keeping the Ledgers out of the end zone at the end of the first half and forcing Springs to punt after a three-and-out to open the second half, the T-Birds got on the board on Cam Gruenwald’s 35-yard quarterback keeper with 8:16 remaining in the third quarter. I-S then tied the game on Gruenwald’s 3-yard run with 11:04 to go in the game that capped a 16-play, 74-yard drive.
Any momentum the T-Birds had from tying the game didn’t last long, as the Ledgers’ Fintan Floyd scored on Springs’ next play, a 59-yard run with 10:48 remaining.
The T-Birds answered two plays into their next drive on Gruenwald’s 58-yard touchdown pass to Kristian Welch that tied the game at 21-21 with 10:17 remaining on the clock.
Springs punted and turned the ball over on downs inside the 20-yard line on its next two drives, but hit paydirt with 50 seconds to go in the game on Schueffner’s 4-yard run.
Gruenwald completed passes to Welch and Brady Snyder on the game’s final drive and the Ledgers’ fifth personal foul of the game gave the T-Birds a first down on their own 48-yard line with 34 seconds to go. Gruenwald completed a 7-yard pass to Welch, but was sacked to stop the clock with 2.4 seconds left. Gruenwald threw the ball up for grabs near the end zone, but it fell incomplete.
In other Level 2 games involving area teams from Oct. 30, Amherst shut out Winnebago Lutheran 47-0 in Division 5 and Almond-Bancroft topped Athens 40-28 in Division 7.
Amherst, a No. 1 seed with an 11-0 record, will host No. 2 Southern Door, a 41-27 winner over Bonduel, at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6 in Level 3. Meanwhile, Almond-Bancroft, a No. 1 seed with a 10-0 mark, will host No. 2 Coleman at 7 p.m. Nov. 6.