NFV runs through SW to the Dome!

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NFV runs through SW
To the Dome!

Kuehner, Mackey run 56 times for 447 yards

By Jerry Wadian

North Fayette Valley is going to the UNI-Dome for a state semifinal football game in its first year of existence. The TigerHawks will face top-ranked Iowa City Regina Saturday, Nov. 16, at 10 a.m. in Cedar Falls. Regina is 12-0 and riding a 54-game win streak.

To get to the Dome, NFV used its bruising running game to defeat South Winn, 49-14, in the quarterfinal game Friday, Nov. 8, in West Union.

The TigerHawks won the initial meeting, 44-34, in the memorable, lightning-delayed, game earlier in the season.

The weather was also bad in the rematch as the wind whipped from the southeast at 25-35 mph. Fans didn’t mind, and it was a full house in the Steve Story Athletic Complex.

As in the previous  meeting, SW struck first on a 53-yard pass play on the opening drive of the game. The PAT kick was wide but SW led, 6-0, with 9:48 to play in the opening quarter

NFV then showed the Warriors what they were going to face the rest of the game as the TigerHawks took the ensuing kickoff and used Derrick Kuehner and Josh Mackey to pound the line for the next four minutes, covering 65 yards for the tying score.

The two TH runners split the 10 carries in the drive with Kuehner scoring the first of his five TDs on a 14-yard run. However, the kick was blocked for a 6-6 tie with 5:05 left in the initial quarter.

 South Winn went three-and-out, but its punt rolled to the NFV 15.

It took North Fayette Valley one play to take the lead, as Kuehner popped through a hole before the SW secondary knew he was there. By the time the defenders could react, Kuehner had a three-step lead, and no one was going to catch the track star.

“It was a play we just put in that week,” noted head coach Bob Lape. “We thought they would overreact, so we put in that little counter. It was only designed to pick up six or seven yards.”

Once again SW went three-and-out with the puntgoing to the NFV 18.

The TigerHawks proceeded on a 15-play drive to paydirt. Mackey and Kuehner carried 14 times between them, with Kuehner   going the final 13 yards; he also added the two-point PAT for a 20-6 lead.

The Warriors refused to give up, rallying for a 65-yard drive of their own, capped by an 11-yard run up the middle. The run for the two-point conversion was good, and NFV’s lead was cut to 20-14.

The TigerHawks mounted one more drive in the first half but lost the ball on downs on the SW 22.

Coming out for the second half, Lape admitted, “It was important for us to take the opening kick and get a score. Other than Nashua-Plainfield, we haven’t been the best second-half team, so it was important to send a message.”

Ben Martin took the opening kick of the second half to the TigerHawk 38. Mackey then proceeded to carry the ball nine straight times; his nine carries netted over 55 yards.

“Actually it was the same play every time,” Lape explained. “We just switched which side of the line we ran it on. We just wanted to make a point.”

Trevor Hurd ran untouched into the end zone for the PAT, and NFV led, 28-14, at the 8:14 mark of the third quarter.

SW tried to rally, going for it on a fourth-and-very-short at its own 37.

The TigerHawk defense rose to the occasion, stopping the run for no gain. It took the NFV offense just six plays to score, with Hurd racing over from the 11.

Even though the PAT run failed, NFV was up, 34-14, with four minutes left in the third quarter, and a long line of people wrapped in red and white blankets started to file out of the stadium.

Over the final 16 minutes, the SW offense could muster just one first down as the TigerHawks controlled the clock with their ground game.

NFV would score twice in the final quarter with Kuehner scoring his fifth TD on an eight-yard scamper. On its final drive, NFV started to put the next man in, which made no difference as Brody Woods and Dillon Baumler continued the onslaught and freshman Trey Kuhens scored the final TD on a four-yard plunge.

For the night, NFV rushed for 25 first downs and 490 yards. Mackey and Kuehner combined for 447 yards between them.

Credit goes to both backs for hard running over and around Warrior tacklers. However, the O-line was opening some big holes. Tackles Dakota Moore and Dalton Lape, guards Tyler Johansen and Ethan Lape, center Lincoln Johansen, and ends Daniel Streeter and Jared Bouska thoroughly dominated the SW front seven.

After SW’s 53-yard bomb, it only gained 110 yards through the air the rest of the night. The Warriors ran 27 times for only 101 yards as the NFV defense controlled the SW O-line.

With the win, squads from North Fayette and North Fayette Valley are 22-7 against their neighbors to the north.

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