Cavaliers knock Tigers from playoffs
The well-oiled machine of Aberdeen Roncalli proved to be too much as the undefeated Cavaliers handed the Tigers a 64-19 defeat in the opening round of the Class 11B playoffs in Aberdeen on Tuesday.
“Our inexperience and lack of size showed up,” said coach Nathan Lamb. “The heart was there though. They played their butts off.”
Roncalli took the lead on the opening drive and never looked back. After receiving the ball first, the Cavaliers drove 56 yards for the first score of the game. Dalton Cox capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers muffed the ensuing kickoff, giving Roncalli excellent field position at the Tiger 35. Three plays later, the Cavaliers were in the end zone on a two-yard run by Matt Swallow.
The Cavaliers made the score 19-0 on the next drive. Early on it looked like the Tigers had held, but Lorenz ran a fake punt for a 30-yard gain and two plays later Swallow scored on a 12-yard run.
The Tigers would not go down without a fight. Mobridge-Pollock got on the scoreboard on the ensuing kickoff when Austin Borah broke a tackle at the 25, broke a couple more at midfield and then tore down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown, making the score 19-6.
After Roncalli answered with a short Lorenz touchdown, the Tigers struck with another big play. Alex Greger dropped back and hit Cody Schaefbauer on a quick slant. Schaefbauer shook off a pair of would-be tacklers and sprinted 66 yards to the end zone, getting the Tigers within 12 points at 25-13.
And then the Cavaliers simply went off. Roncalli scored four touchdowns over the final eight minutes of the first half to turn a 12-point game into a 50-13 score at the half.
Swallow ignited the fire with a pair of rushing touchdowns. Cox put the finishing touches on the run, catching a 27-yard touchdown pass from Zach Lundquist with just seven seconds left in the first half.
“The guys were down at halftime,” said Lamb. “But I reminded them that they had scored two touchdowns against a team that had only given up four touchdowns all year and had not been scored on at home. They felt a little better after that.”
With Roncalli ahead by more than 35 points, the clock ran continually in the second half. But the Tigers kept working and put a third touchdown on the board when Mason Keller grabbed a Greger pass for a 12-yard score.
Roncalli put more than 400 yards offense up in the first half and finished the game with 499 yards and 30 first downs. The Tigers managed just 175 yards and six first downs.
Even with a line that featured two injured seniors (Brady Spiry, Stephen Gemar), a first-year offensive lineman (Bryce Hayes), a sophomore with little varsity experience (David Jensen) and a center who joined the team just two weeks ago (Jeremy Johnson), the Tigers put three touchdowns on the board and scored more points than any team had against Roncalli all season.
“We made our mistakes, but there were definitely some bright spots,” said Lamb.
An injury-plagued 4-5 season is in the books for the Tigers. It was not the season they envisioned back when the team was mostly healthy and winners of three of their first four games.
“We’ll lick our wounds and come back next year,” said Lamb. “It’s tough to see the seniors go. I wish they were sophomores. We’re trying to lay a foundation here that lasts a long time. Their effort and sacrifice were a big part of that.”
Mobridge-Pollock (4-5)6 7 6 0- 19
Aberdeen Roncalli (9-0)19 31 7 7- 64
AR- Dalton Cox 13 run (Lucas Lorenz kick)
AR- Matt Swallow 2 run (kick failed)
AR- Swallow 12 pass from Zach Lundquist (kick failed)
MP- Austin Borah 75 kickoff return (kick failed)
AR- Lorenz 1 run (conversion failed)
MP- Cody Schaefbauer 66 pass from Alex Greger (Mitch Heumiller kick)
AR- Swallow 4 run (kick failed)
AR- Lorenz 5 run (kick failed)
AR- Swallow 6 run (Austin Maag kick)
AR- Cox 27 pass from Lundquist (kick failed)
AR- Anthony Andera 3 run (Maag kick)
MP- Mason Keller 12 pass from Greger (kick blocked)
AR- Greg Zens 4 run (Maag kick)
Mobridge-Pollock: Rushing 15-38 (Austin Borah 9-25, Taten Rau 2-13); Passing 6-13-0-137); Receiving (Cody Schaefbauer 3-94, Mason Keller 3-43); 6 first downs; 2 turnovers. Defense: Rau 14 tackles, Keller 8 tackles, Schaefbauer 7 tackles, interception, Borah 5 tackles, Pearson Wientjes 5 tackles.
Aberdeen Roncalli: Rushing 55-335 (Lucas Lorenz 12-115, Dalton Cox 8-59, Matt Swallow 8-51); Passing (Zach Lundquist 10-14-1-164); Receiving (Cox 4-92, Swallow 4-64); 30 first downs; 1 turnover. Defense: Brayden McNeary 4 tackles, Cox 2 tackles, Landon Hoellein 2 tackles.