First, the Beavers had two weeks off to prepare for another deep playoff push.
Second, as a result of the down time, the Milano Eagles were facing a Falls City team that benefitted from the break.
Feeling fresh and restored from 10 consecutive regular season games without a break, the Beavers utilized their patented ground game and tough defense to ground the Eagles and their passing attack by the score of 47-13.
“The time off was crucial for us,” said Falls City head coach Mark Kirchhoff.” “It’s been a week-to-week process. It was a long haul from August 1 to October 28 and it meant a lot for us to rejuvenate and get our legs back.”
In the first half, the Beavers scored 21 unanswered points to set the pace for the rest of the game.
With 7:57 to go in the first quarter, junior quarterback Cameron Soto hit senior receiver Wade Jimerson in stride for the 13-yard touchdown pass, with senior Scott Lyssy’s extra point making it 7-0.
Lyssy made all three of his attempts in the first half though none were made in the second half.
Later in the quarter, at the 4:03 mark, senior running back Tyler Wiatrek busted through the Milano defense for a 20-yard rushing score. The Beavers’ last score of the first half came with 10:53 on the clock in the second quarter as Wiatrek punched it in from 1 yard away for his second score of the night.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard with 8:49 to go as junior quarterback Toby Sanders connected with junior receiver Dominique Messer for the 29-yard score with the extra point putting the score at 21-7 at halftime.
In the second half, the Beavers kept the pace up. With 7:13 to go in the third quarter, junior running back scored his first of two 1-yard rushing touchdowns, with the second coming later at the 1:03 mark.
On that second Lyssy score, however, Soto connected with sophomore running back Stephen Poole for the two-point conversion to put the lead at 35-7.
Milano scored their last touchdown of the night on the ensuing kickoff with 51 seconds left in the third quarter as sophomore returner Jordan Millar took the kick into the end zone from 66 yards away, though the failed extra point put the lead at 35-13 after three quarters of play.
The Beavers scored twice in the fourth quarter to put the game well out of reach.
With 8:36 on the clock, Wiatrek scored his third and final rushing touchdown of the game, this time on a 1-yard run.
With 4:31 to go, Soto punched it in on a 2-yard run to put the final score at 47-13.
Statistically the Beavers gained 471 yards of total offense, with 328 rushing on 54 attempts and 143 passing on 8 attempts.
The Eagles, by comparison, were held to 162 yards of total offense, with 29 rushing on 23 attempts and 133 passing on 15 attempts.
Penalties were not abundant as the Beavers were flagged 5 times for 45 total yards and the Eagles were flagged thrice for 12 total yards.
“Our offense executed well,” said Kirchhoff. “We flipped the field with play action and it set up crucial situations. Defensively, we knew they could run out of the spread and we did a good job containing them. All night we were pretty solid and we took away their speed option game. Overall it was a really good night on both sides of the ball.”
This week, the Beavers will get a rematch with the Bruni Badgers in the Regional round of the Class A Division II playoffs at Corpus Christi Calallen.
Falls City will be the designated Home team for the contest.
“Bruni’s earned their right to be there,” said Kirchhoff. “They’ve gotten better every week. We don’t think we’re gonna see the same ball club.”
Kickoff in Calallen is set for Friday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m.