CEDAR FALLS, Ia. — Spirit Lake is back where it was a year ago — and the Indians can thank their big-play offense and swarming defense for the opportunity to play another game.
The sixth-ranked team in Class 2-A punctuated its return trip to the state championship game Saturday night with a 17-10 handcuffing of No. 5 Carroll Kuemper at the UNI-Dome.
Cody Poock ran for a 44-yard score, Paul Brown tossed a 69-yard touchdown to Casey Spaeth and Spirit Lake’s defense did the rest, limiting the Knights to 167 yards.
“We can spend another week together,” Spirit Lake coach Josh Bolluyt said. “That’s what it’s about.”
Iowa City Regina beat the Indians 24-20 in last year’s 2-A title game. Spirit Lake (12-1) will play Friday against the winner of Saturday night’s other semifinal between Mediapolis and Dyersville Beckman, which had not finished when this edition of the Sunday Register went to press.
Carroll Kuemper (12-1) entered the game averaging 45.3 points per game, but the Knights’ only touchdown came when quarterback Cole Neary scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter. It came on the heels of a botched punt snap by the Indians, allowing Carroll Kuemper to take over at the Spirit Lake 4.
“We swarmed to the ball,” defensive end Ben Spaeth said. “We can do better. But I think that was a great performance by our defense.”
Carroll Kuemper 0 0 3 7 — 10
Spirit Lake 7 3 7 0 — 17
SL — Poock 44 run (Cochran-Bray kick)
SL — Cochran-Bray 27 FG
CK — Hilgenberg 41 FG
SL — A. Spaeth 69 pass from Brown (Cochran-Bray kick)
CK — Neary 4 run (Hilgenberg kick)
Rushing–Carroll Kuemper: Rupiper 22-114; Spirit Lake: Poock 16-60.
Passing–Carroll Kuemper: Neary 12-33-1-80; Spirit Lake: Brown: 11-17-1-187.
Receiving–Carroll Kuemper: Drees 4-41; Spirit Lake: A. Spaeth 2-78.
MEDIAPOLIS BEATS DYERSVILLE BECKMAN TO REACH TITLE GAME
CEDAR FALLS, Ia. It wasn’t their best game offensively. It actually was their worst.
But, man, that Mediapolis defense was something else Saturday night in a 19-6 win over Dyersville Beckman in a Class 2A state playoff semifinal at the UNI-Dome.
“I feel like we’ve always been underrated as a defense,” said Mediapolis receiver-cornerback John Wagenbach. “And tonight it showed.”
Top-ranked Mediapolis (13-0) had a shutout going until Beckman (11-2) scored a consolation touchdown with 3:32 to go. By then, Kansas State-bound quarterback Jesse Ertz had thrown three TD passes to Wagenbach, including a 36-yard backbreaker midway through the fourth on a bubble screen.
Ertz’s first two touchdowns came in a span of 1:37 late in the second quarter.
Wagenbach caught nine passes for 172 yards, with Ertz, the state’s career passing touchdowns leader (now with 98), completing 13 of 29 passes for 217.
It was a pedestrian performance for a high-octane Bulldogs offense that hadn’t scored less than 33 points in a game all season. They came in averaging 48.
— Jeff Johnson, Cedar Rapids Gazette
Dyersville Beckman 0 0 0 6 — 6
Mediapolis 0 12 0 7 — 19
M — Wagenbach 3 pass from Ertuz (kick blocked)
M — Wagenbach 11 pass from Ertz (kick failed)
M — Wagenbach 36 pass from Ertz (Wolfe kick)
DB — Steger 5 pass from Hammann (pass failed)
Rushing–Dyers. Beck: Ross 19-71, Kendrick 10-56; Mediapolis: Scott 14-36, Ertz 6-5
Passing–Dyers. Beck: Hammann 12-24-2-73; Mediapolis: Ertz 13-29-1-217
Receiving–Dyers. Beck: Steger 7-29, Grover 3-24; Mediapolis: Wagenbach 9-176, Beitz 1-21