FORRESTON – The Forreston Cardinals did exactly what they wanted to do in the third quarter of Saturday’s 1A playoff game.
They controlled the clock. The moved the ball. The only problem was that the effort resulted in only three points.
The final result was a 24-10 loss to the Panthers in a matchup of NUIC Northwest rivals. Lena-Winslow won the regular-season game 38-33 in Week 6.
After trailing Lena-Winslow 10-7 at halftime, Forreston held the ball for 10 minutes and gained 130 yards, compared to 6 yards for the Panthers in the third quarter.
“After the long drive they had and all they got was a field goal, I was the happiest guy in the place,” Lena-Winslow coach Ric Arand said.
A 22-yard field goal by Ross Williams tied the score at 10-10 after a 60-yard drive. Two plays later, it was Williams recovering a Lena-Winslow fumble, and the Cardinals went on another 60-yard plus drive.
With the Panthers reeling, a fumble at the 3-yard line by quarterback Robert DeVries kept Forreston from taking the lead.
Hank Holm, who didn’t play in the regular-season contest, forced the fumble and Colton Drye recovered it.
“DeVries is so shifty and strong. He’ll run right through you,” Holm said. “You need to wrap him up.”
“I’m glad to have [Holm] back,” Arand said. “He’s so physical.”
Forreston forced a three-and-out and advanced back into Le-Win territory on a 14-yard pass from a limping DeVries to Max Barkalow.
“I hurt my ankle on the play before I fumbled,” DeVries said.
However, a stingy Le-Win defense and costly Forreston penalties stymied that possession.
“It felt like an avalanche of things piling on out there,” Forreston coach Denny Diduch said.
Besides DeVries not being at full strength, the game was stopped for 15 minutes for an injury to running back Aaron Shelton, a long Cardinal gain was nullified by a clipping penalty, and field position started working in Le-Win’s favor.
Taking over at Forreston’s 45-yard line after a poor punt, the Panthers and feature running back Tyler Oakley advanced to the 9-yard line. Sophomore Brendon Eilders gave Le-Win a 17-10 lead one play later on a sweep right.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Oakley made it 24-10 on a 19-yard run, after a failed Cardinal fourth-down play.
“We had to shut down their running game,” Le-Win’s Luke Schubert said. “We were flying to the holes.”
Andrew Beasley gave Forreston a chance to get into the game with a 42-yard pass reception.
“That was a broken play,” DeVries said. “It was supposed to go to the other way, but he made something out of it.”
Forreston had a first-and-goal, but the 6-foot-3 Schubert intercepted DeVries in the end zone on a desperation fourth-down pass, making it twice that Forreston came up with no points after advancing inside the 10-yard line.
Le-Win made the best of its opportunities. On a fourth-and-10 near the goal line, quarterback Ben Moest found Oakley on a perfectly executed waggle screen for a 10-0 second-quarter lead.
With 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half, DeVries drove his team 57 yards for a score, the key plays a 20-yard pass to Dalton Lewis and a 12-yard pass to Williams. DeVries took it the final 7 yards on a keeper to cut the lead to 10-7.