Northwood-Kensett halts Central at state

Published 8:30 am Tuesday, November 4, 2008

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — The Northwood-Kensett football team got a big stand from its defense late in the game and the Vikings moved on to the quarterfinal round of the Class A state playoffs with a 14-13 win over Central Elkader Monday at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The Warriors (8-3) scored with 17 seconds to play when quarterback Tyler Sylvester found wide receiver Keaton Juergens in the end zone to make the game 14-13. Central decided to go for the win with a two-point conversion. The try came up short as Northwood-Kensett defenders Dan Horning and Jayson Olson combined to pressure Sylvester into making a hurried throw that fell incomplete to give the Vikings the win.

“I thought both defenses were well prepared and played a great game,” Vikings head coach Dave Capitani said. “That was a hell of a defensive football game.”

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No. 6 Northwood-Kensett (10-1) made the last stand of the game and will face East Buchanan (11-0) in the quarterfinal round Friday at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls at 6:15 p.m. East Buchanan defeated Waspie Valley 16-10 in overtime at Waspie Valley.

The Viking defense came on as the game progressed. After struggling to shutdown the running game of Central, Northwood-Kensett played strong and forced the Warriors into long yardage situations.

The Vikings also showed that quarterback Jordan Reindl is a pretty good special teams player, too.

Northwood-Kensett scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Reindl. Northwood-Kensett decided to go for two and Reindl punched it in from 2 yards out to make the game 14-13 with 7:06 left to play.

“We got to the point where we just played field position and the defense was playing well,” Capitani said. “We just felt that getting that short field we could wear them down. We did that in that last drive.”

Reindl was instrumental in the sequence that set up the scoring drive. On fourth-and-10 Reindl, who is also the punter, was deep to punt to Central when the snap went over his head. Reindl recovered the ball and moved to his left and got the punt off before the Warriors could rush him. The punt bounced down inside the 1 yard line where Spencer Capitani downed it.

After a three-and-out by the Warriors, Reindl returned the ensuing punt down to the Central 22 yard line. Eight plays later Reindl scored the game-winning touchdown.

“We knew we had to push it in there,” Reindl said. “We were running out of time, it was just a gut-check for us and all of our guys stepped up. We knew that was our chance to get in and turn the momentum our way.”

Although Reindl made some of the big plays, it was the hard-nosed running of Ryan Mueller that got Northwood-Kensett near the goal line. Mueller picked up a few yards on each carry and came through with a first down on a fourth-and-1 from the 2 yard line.

“We just got on Mueller’s back and rode him down to the goal line,” Reindl said. “He did a great job of running low and getting three, four yards at a pop. They were keying on Phil all night and Mueller was getting his three, four yards at a crack. We’ll take that anytime we can.”

The game wasn’t completely over though.

The Warriors got the ball back with 3:28 left to play and marched down the field with the help of a controversial call. Central wide receiver Keaton Juergens appeared to have dropped a catch, but the referee ruled the play a completion on a second-and-7 play from the Vikings 25 yard line. As Juergens went to catch the ball, Reindl hit Juergens and the ball fell to the ground, but the referee ruled he had possession before Reindl laid the hit on him.

The Warriors took over at the Northwood-Kensett 11 yard line and on a fourth-and-2 from the 3 yard line, Sylvester found Juergens in the end zone to make the game 14-13.

That’s when the Vikings made a goal line stand on a two-point conversion. Horning and Olson supplied the pass rush on the two-point conversion that would have given the Warriors a 15-14 win, but Sylvester’s pass fell incomplete and Northwood-Kensett held on to advance to the quarterfinal round.

The Vikings trailed at halftime 7-6 after Central’s Nathan Beatty scored from 24 yards out on a sweep play gave the Warriors the first points of the game.

The sweep caused problems for the Northwood-Kensett defense throughout the first half.

“We came out slow in the first half,” Olson said. “Stopping that run game was big.”

The Vikings got on the board with 28 seconds remaining in the first half with a touchdown from Reindl. Reindl scored from 15 yards out, but Northwood-Kensett missed the extra point.

It was a defensive battle all game for both teams. The Vikings allowed 151 yards rushing, most of which came in the first half and just 103 yards passing. Sylvester finished 8-for-18 with 103 yards passing and Juergens had six catches for 83 yards.

Northwood-Kensett was limited to 194 yards of total offense. Reindl finished 2-of-4 passing with 46 yards and had 18 yards on 13 carries.

Ryan Mueller played a big game for the Vikings as he gained 77 yards. Leading rusher Phil Fierova was held in check by the Warrior defense the majority of the game as he had only 22 yards in the game.

Northwood-Kensett 14, Central Elkader 13

N-K – 0 6 0 8 – 14

Central – 0 7 0 6 – 13

First Quarter

No scoring

Second Quarter

Central – Nathan Beatty 24 run (Keaton Juergens kick) 2:29

N-K – Jordan Reindl 15 run (kick failed) :28

Third Quarter

No scoring

Fourth Quarter

N-K – Reindl 1 run (Reindl run) 7:06

Central – Juergens 3 pass from Tyler Sylvester (pass failed) :17

Total offense

Central – 254

N-K – 194

Total rushing

Central – 151

N-K – 148

Total passing

Central – 103

N-K – 46