“The defense played great,” said Falls City head coach Steve Marbach. “To get three shutouts in the playoffs is fantastic.”
The Beavers first score came with 5:32 on the clock in the first quarter as Justin Twine scored on a 37-yard run and ran in the two-point conversion himself to put the lead at 8-0. Just minutes later, at the 1:07 mark, Twine scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, this time on a 4-yard run. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the Falls City lead after the first quarter of play at 16-0.
The Beavers scored three more times in the second quarter. The first came at the 9:04 mark as Dean Gaskamp scored on a 10-yard run, though the failed two-point conversion left the lead at 20-0. The second score came with 1:09 to go as Gaskamp connected with Stephen Harlos on a 17-yard passing score, with Gaskamp throwing to Austen Camber for the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 28-0. The final score of the first half came just 32 seconds later as, after a La Pryor fumble, Twine connected with David Brodsky for a 33-yard passing touchdown. Conner Jendrusch kicked the extra point to put Falls City’s halftime lead at 35-0.
The third quarter’s lone score came just 21 seconds into the second half as Twine broke through the Bulldogs’ defense and scored on a 52-yard run, with Jendrusch adding the PAT. The Beavers scored twice in the fourth quarter to put the game well in hand. The first of these came at the 10:05 mark as Gaskamp connected with Camber for a 19-yard passing score and Jendrusch added the extra point to extend the lead to 49-0. The last score of the game came with 2:12 to play as Kendall Kanak capped of a Falls City drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Though the extra point was no good, the Beavers still had a commanding lead of 55-0 as time expired.
Statistically, the Beavers gained 397 yards of total offense, with 328 yards rushing over 33 carries and 69 yards passing over three completions. By comparison, the Bulldogs were held to 164 yards of total offense, with 150 yards rushing over 45 carries and 14 yards passing over two completions. Penalty wise, the Beavers were flagged twice for 20 total yards and the Bulldogs were called four times for 25 total yards.
Marbach said that the linebackers on defense, such as Eric Wiatrek, Tyler Malcolm and Mitch Lyssy, played a pivotal role in ensuring the Beavers got their ninth shutout of the season.
“They knew they were going to get a lot of tackles and did a really good job to allow other guys to make tackles,” said Marbach.
Wiatrek leads the team in total defensive tackles so far this season with 219.
Despite the elements providing a challenge for the team and spectators alike, Marbach said the Beavers did a great job adjusting.
“It was very cold, but we kept warm on the sidelines,” said Marbach. “It was the coldest came I coached in by far, but it didn’t really affect us. It was a fun game in different ways. Our kids are so smart and can understand what we need to do on the fly.”
This week, the Beavers will have a highly-anticipated rematch with the Tenaha Tigers, who defeated Falls City by the score of 42-14 in last year’s semifinals. This year, however, the game will take place at the Waco ISD Sports Complex. Falls City is the designated visiting team for the contest.
“They’re a lot like they were last year,” said Marbach about Tenaha. “They’re very athletic and very fast. We had Tenaha penciled in as the best team in the state and we know that, if we want to be the best, we have to beat those guys. There’s every reason for both teams to play well.”
Kickoff in Waco is set for Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.