Don Bosco puts end to Eagles' season

Drew Gravel of Midland (left) blocks a Don Bosco punt during the state Eight-player semifinal game Nov. 9 in the UNI-Dome. The play set up Midland’s first touchdown. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Austin Smith of Midland (4) makes an over-the-shoulder catch in the state semifinal game.

Fisher Bisinger of the Eagles (front, in white) brings down a Don Bosco runner, backed up by teammate Hunter Rushford.

The Midland Eagles hold up their state playoff participation trophy following the loss to Don Bosco Nov. 9. From left are Fisher Bisinger, Drew Gravel, Austin Smith and Brady Pestka.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Don Bosco’s athletic talent, and its ability to break big plays on a regular basis, spelled the end of the football season for the Midland Eagles.

     The Dons raced to a 56-12 lead by halftime, and went on to defeat Midland 80-12 in the state Eight-player semifinals Thursday morning, Nov. 9 in the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

     “Our kids played hard until the end of the game,” Midland coach Casey Hack said. “We were not able to make some plays that we thought we should have made that would have closed the gap a bit, but Don Bosco is just a very talented team.”

     Midland came in hoping for a more competitive game than the 72-0 loss it suffered to Don Bosco in the same spot a year ago, and for a while, it appeared the Eagles would give the unbeaten Dons a battle.

     Don Bosco did score on its second play from scrimmage, a 70-yard pass play from Wyatt Sawvel to Cael Tenold; and tallied a few minutes later on a 22-yard scoring pass from Sawvel to Tenold to lead 14-0.

     But Midland’s Drew Gravel raced in to block a Don Bosco punt, and recovered the ball at the Dons’ 20-yard line, and on the next play Austin Smith scored on a 15-yard run around the right side. The Eagles trailed by just eight, 14-6, with 3:18 left in the first quarter.

     “Defensively we started out really good against the run,” Hack said. “We had a good game plan going in, but Don Bosco was able to throw it when we put them behind the chains.”

     Don Bosco then broke the game open. Sawvel ran for a 44-yard touchdown, and on the next series Tenold intercepted a Midland pass and raced 26 yards for a score, to put the Dons ahead 28-6 in the closing seconds of the first quarter.

     Sawvel scored on a 17-yard run early in the second quarter, but this time Midland answered. Britan Martens hit Austin Smith for a touchdown pass, on a play covering 60 yards, to make the score 34-12 with 8:40 left in the half.

     It was the last time Midland would score. Don Bosco added three more touchdowns before halftime, on runs of 53 and 36 yards, and a 26-yard Sawvel to Tenold connection, and led 56-12 at the half.

     “Offensively we really struggled to move the ball,” Hack said. “We knew going in that they were really tough against the run, and that we would have to pass the ball in order to score. We just missed multiple opportunities in the passing game, and it cost us.”

     The game went to a continuous clock with five minutes left in the second quarter, and it kept running to the end of the game. But that didn’t stop the Dons from scoring four more times, two on runs of 42 and 61 yards and two on pass plays covering 38 and 42 yards.

     Don Bosco finished with 331 rushing yards and 213 passing yards for a total of 544 yards. Sawvel rushed for 176 yards and passed for 171.

     The Eagles were held to 247 total yards, with Martens passing for 130. Smith had four catches for 112 yards. Leading tacklers were Hunter Shoaff with six, and Griffin Gravel, Brett Schoenherr and Fisher Bisinger with four apiece.

     Midland finished with a 9-3 record, including 6-0 to win the Eight-player, District 4 championship.

     “I am very proud of the season our kids had,” Hack concluded. “The coaches and kids prepared like champions and gave all their effort every week, and that is all I can ask for.”




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