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St. Alberts falls to top-ranked Grundy Center in state semifinals

St. Alberts falls to top-ranked Grundy Center in state semifinals

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CEDAR FALLS — Three first quarter mistakes put St. Albert in an early debt that proved too big to overcome as class A’s top-ranked Grundy Center (11-0) defeated the Falcons (8-3) 34-6.

The Falcon offense wasn’t able to get much going as their first two drives ended with interceptions. In addition, the Falcons muffed a kickoff late in the first quarter after the Spartans took the lead, to set Grundy Center up with a fast 14-3 lead.

“That’s a good football team,” St. Albert coach Jake Driver said. “We made some early mistakes and they capitalized on them and that’s what good football teams do.”

Though both teams went scoreless in the second quarter, and while the Falcons were held to under 50 yards in the first half, the Spartan rushing attack came to life as their duo of Logan Knaack and Zach Opheim combined for over 400 rushing yards.

“They did a great job of running down hill,” Driver said. “Their running back (Opheim) does a great job of luring the linebackers inside and then bouncing the run to the outside. We had some plans that we thought would work, sadly a lot of them didn’t shake out how we wanted them to, but he’s a tremendous back and their quarterback also made some nice runs and those two are just really hard to stop. I still thought we did a great job of trying to fight through things. We were beat up, they were a bit more healthier than we were and they did what they did.”

The Falcons tried switching things up by subbing in senior Cy Patterson at quarterback for sophomore Brendan Monohan. To give the offense a spark. While they did march down for a field goal on Patterson’s first drive behind center, that’s all the further success the offense would see.

“Their defense was really stout,” Driver said. “We thought we could do some things interior wise, but were unable to. We tried to get some offense on the perimeter and things didn’t work out as well as we thought it could.”

“We’re still young in some spots, guys are learning and maturing and today was another step in that. Sometimes steps aren’t always successful, but we were making steps in the right direction.”

With the loss, St. Albert ends their season with a record of 8-3 and will graduate 12 seniors that first year coach Driver says was a big reason for the team’s rebound off the 0-2 start and finding a way to the UNI-Dome.

“The seniors did a great job helping lead this team,” Driver said. “They left their legacy and mark on Falcon Football. We couldn’t have done this without them. Being a new head coach I was able to take over and lean on some guys that have had some playing experience that are also tremendously talented and it was a great first year for us and I can only attribute it to them and their leadership. I think these 12 seniors and our senior manager are going to continue to be leaders in our society and that’s almost more gratifying than anything is churning out great young men.”

Grundy Center will move on to play Iowa City Regina for the class A state title next Friday at 7pm.

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