CEDAR FALLS — It’s been a memorable year even if the ending was forgettable.
South Winn’s bid for its first state title ended with a 35-0 loss to No. 2 Council Bluffs St. Albert in the Class 1A state championship game Saturday at the UNI-Dome.
“We played hard. We had fun,” South Winn senior Jordan Andera said. “It’s disappointing it has to end this way, but that’s football. Someone has to win. Someone has to lose. I think we met up with a better team and that’s part of the game.”
The high-powered Warriors spread offense was stifled from the start. South Winn didn’t get a first down until the second quarter and was held to one first down and had a mere 43 total yards of offense at halftime. Despite a 36-yard run by Danny Sender and a 42-yard pass from Andera to Logan Einck, the Warriors offense was dormant.
“They were just a better football team,” South Winn Coach Jason Ohrt said. “They beat us upfront on the line and we weren’t able to get on to the second level with our blocks … We couldn’t get going with the run game.”
CBSA Coach Kevin Culjat expected a strong defensive performance from the Falcons, who keyed on Andera, swarming him whenever he had the ball.
“Defense ruled the day for us,” Culjat said. “(Andera) is a tremendous player. We knew if we could align correctly, depending on where he was in the ballgame, you could take away what they wanted to do.”
Andera was held to just 17 yards. Sender led the Warriors with 55 yards and they managed just 74 total rushing yards.
“We met up with a team that had same amount of speed than us and that hurt us,” Andera said. “They had a lot of size. A lot of strength and they played well.”
The Falcons thrived on great field position with four of their scoring drives starting in South Winn territory.
“We didn’t help (the defense) out at all by not getting first downs early,” Ohrt said.
After returning a punt to the South Winneshiek 28, the Falcons used six plays, capped by a Jake Waters 11-yard run, to get on the scoreboard. Waters added a 1-yard TD to finish a 34-yard drive, leading to the Falcons 21-0 halftime lead.
The Falcons used a short field for a 14-0 lead when Mickey Russell’s interception led to a 41-yard drive ending with Jake Gentile’s 11-yard TD run for a 14-0.
Gentile ran for 133 yards and two scores. Waters had 159 total yards and three rushing TDs.
The Falcons (13-0) won their fourth title in the last six years.
“That tradition just carries on,” Culjat said. “That’s what it’s all about at St. Albert’s.”
The Warriors ended the best season in school history, advancing the state semifinals and championship for the first time. They posted a 12-2 record. One win short of the biggest goal doesn’t diminish their feat.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Ohrt said. “They were overachievers this season. They did absolutely an outstanding job all season.”
Class 1A Championship, Council Bluffs St. Albert, Danny Sender, Falcons, Football, Jake Gentile, Jake Waters, Jason Ohrt, Jordan Andera, Kevin Culjat, Mickey Russell, prep football, South Winneshiek, state title, Warriors