EDGAR — After coming off a must win over Boyceville just to make the WIAA playoffs a week ago, the Colfax football team had the rather difficult task of playing against the number three ranked Edgar Wildcats on Edgar’s home field Oct. 25.
Fans who didn’t take the hour and forty minute trek to the game may have heard the final score was 31-6 in Edgars favor. What they didn’t see was the Vikings had a lead and were in control of the game the first 23 minutes before things fell apart, eventually resulting in the loss.
The Colfax defense forced the Wildcats who are ranked number three in the state in Division 6, to punt in their first three possessions while they were having some success on the offensive end. The Vikings moved the ball on their second possession all the way to the Wildcats 15 yard line on running plays by Jeremiah Wait, Sawyer DeMoe, Ethin Kiekhafer and Noah Pretasky while Jarrod Rudi completed an 11 yard pass and a 13 yarder to DeMoe on the drive. But a dropped fourth down pass on what looked like a potential touchdown gave the Ball to the Wildcats.
Edgar was forced to punt after eight plays however, as the Viking’s Zach Meyer tackled their runner for a loss and Pretasky broke up a long pass attempt in the drive. Colfax took over on their own 20 and after five plays, starting with a two yard run by Pretasky, a four yard bootleg by Rudi, a 31 yard pass completion from Rudi to Pretasky, a three yard gain by Wait and a five yard pass to DeMoe put the ball on the 50 after a holding penalty on them. Rudi then found DeMoe for a short pass which turned into a 50 yard TD run to put the Vikings up 6-0. The extra point kick was missed but Colfax had the lead with 10:02 to go in the second quarter.
Edgar ran seven plays on their next possession but two holding penalties on them and some big tackles by Logan Sikora, Trevor Olson and Kiekhafer forced them to boot the ball away again. There were some awful quiet fans on the Edgar side at this point but Colfax couldn’t hold the momentum and ended up going three and out and giving the ball back on a punt. And to make matters worse, Sikora, one of the Viking’s leading tacklers from his linebacker position, playing on a bad shoulder for the past two weeks, re-injured that shoulder and ended his high school career on the sidelines.
The Wildcats finally put their offense in high gear and after starting at their own 28, moved the ball into the endzone on 12 plays, 10 on the ground as Nehemiah Werner took the ball in from two yards out. A two point run gave Edgar the 8-6 lead with just 44 seconds left in the half.
Edgar came out with a mission to start the second half and it wasn’t hard to see what their game plan was. Taking the opening kickoff at their own 27, they ran the ball 12 consecutive times with Werner doing most of the damage and he finally scored from two yards out. An extra point kick gave Edgar a 15-6 lead after the drive took 5:33 off the clock.
“That was a big turning point in the game,” Colfax coach Mark Maloney said. “We knew the key to this game was keeping Werner under control. We did a pretty good job on him the first half. But they are known for pounding the ball and wearing teams down and they kept at it for almost six minutes on the drive.”
Colfax picked up a first down on a 12 yard run by Wait, but they ended up punting again after failing to move the ball. Edgar continued to grind it out, but the Colfax defense held them to a 37 yard fieldgoal on the drive and the third quarter ended 18-6 in Edgar’s favor.
Still in the game, the Vikings took the kickoff to their own 22 and on a second down, Wait ran for 12 yards and a first down but two incomplete passes and a run netting 0 yards forced another Viking punt. Edgar controlled the line of scrimmage from both sides the rest of the way and Werner ended up scoring twice more before the night was over for the final points.
“With all the injuries in our line this year, we had several players move into positions they were not familiar with,” Maloney said.” And they did a tremendous job. With Sikora getting hurt again that left a big hole in our defense. We let Edgar pick up a couple of long first downs in the second half and that hurt. And their coaching staff did a good job in figuring out how to stop our running backs. But our kids played hard until the end against a very good team and the Edgar coaches even mentioned how hard we played. My assistant coaches and myself are very proud of this team,” he added.
Prestasky, the Vikings’ leading rusher with over 900 yards this season, was held to four on five carries. The whole team combined for just 60 yards while Edgar ended up with 295, including 190 by Werner. Rudi completed seven of 19 passes for 136 yards and DeMoe snared four of them for 85 yards with 50 on the touchdown pass. Wait and Kiekhafer both came up with 11 tackles, Devon Utpadel added nine and DeMoe eight.
Colfax ended their season with a 5-4 record officially and were 3-3 in conference play.