WILLIAMSBURG — All the nervousness, all the tightness, all the turnovers came to a halt on the very first play from scrimmage of the second half. All the doubt about who was going to win went away, too.
Lorren Stahl’s 59-yard touchdown run began a second-half blitz that carried Williamsburg to a 31-13 victory over Winterset Friday night in a Class 3A playoff quarterfinal.
“Coming in at halftime and everything, we knew that we needed to pull it together,” said Stahl, a junior who rushed for a career-high 135 yards on 23 carries. “We knew that we were going to do it, it was all a team thing. We’ve been preaching all season that we need to be a team and stick together and work together. I think we did that.”
Williamsburg (11-1), which plays top-ranked Decorah (12-0) in a Thursday semifinal at the UNI-Dome, has one of the top turnover margins in the state. But three fumbles foiled three potential first-half scoring drives and kept underdog Winterset (8-4) hanging around.
In fact, it was a 7-7 game when Stahl took a counter handoff and sprinted untouched for a TD that seemed to loosen all the Raiders up. A shanked Winterset punt led to a Nicolas Spratt touchdown run that made it a two-score spread a short time later, and that was basically all she wrote.
“It was just really basic,” Stahl said of his igniting run. “It was wide open. Our line just kills them every play. They do all the work, and I’m the one that gets the credit.”
“The big thing was those two scores at the start of the second half,” said Williamsburg Coach Curt Ritchie. “I thought we came out and played real tight. We turned the ball over, which is what we haven’t done all year. To overcome a team that plays that hard despite three first-half turnovers … We felt pretty good at halftime just being in it. We outgained them by a lot, but we just didn’t finish drives. It was a testament to our kids not to panic and stay on course.”
A 40-yard run by quarterback Jacob Donohoe made it 27-7 Raiders, and Williamsburg notched a pair of safeties on a quarterback sack in the third and an airmailed punt snap through the end zone in the fourth.
“We kind of screwed up a little bit in the first half with ball control,” Donohoe said. “We just stuck together in the second half and got the ‘W.’”
Donohoe completed 15 of 23 passes for 198 yards. Williamsburg added 272 on the ground behind six ball carriers.
It’s been a back-by-committee approach in the postseason after leading rusher Chance Miller was ruled ineligible after the regular-season finale for a violation of school policy.
Noah Kaldenberg was limited to 73 yards on 18 carries for Winterset, which made the playoffs for the first time since 1984. He came into the game with over 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Decorah/Williamsburg game, and all other state semifinal and final games, can be seen live on KCRG 9.2
Here is the game boxscore:
Williamsburg 31, Winterset 13
AT AT WILLIAMSBURG
|Rushes-yards||31 - 101||57 - 272|
|Comp-Att-Int||12 - 23 - 3||15 - 23 - 0|
|Fumbles-lost||1 - 1||3 - 3|
|Punts-average||3 - 25.0||2 - 38.5|
|Penalties-yards||8 - 75||6 - 40|
Rushing: Winterset – Noah Kaldenberg 18-73 , Cory Briney 5-12 , Alex Forgy 5-10 , Brandon Herr 3-6 Williamsburg – Lorren Stahl 23-135 , Bryan MacDonald 13-54 , Nicolas Spratt 12-43 , Jacob Donohoe 5-34 , Cody Marine 1-9 , Aaron Schultz 1-4 , Team 2--7
Passing: Winterset – Cory Briney 12-24-3-189 Williamsburg – Jacob Donohoe 15-23-0-198
Receiving: Winterset – Trae Gilliland 6-71 , Ryan Scheetz 2-36 , Lucas Nolan 1-34 , Alex Forgy 1-32 , Brandon Herr 1-14 , Noah Kaldenberg 1-2 Williamsburg – Aaron Schultz 6-86 , Jordan McMenomy 3-45 , Austin Maas 3-35 , Cody Marine 1-24 , Lorren Stahl 1-4 , Chance Wetjen 1-4
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Wint-Noah Kaldenberg 35 run (Dru Coffman kick)
Will-Aaron Schultz 5 pass from Jacob Donohoe (Andrew Wichmann kick)
Will-Lorren Stahl 59 run (kick failed)
Will-Nicolas Spratt 12 run (Wichmann kick)
Will-Donohoe 40 run (Wichmann kick)
Wint-Alex Forgy 32 pass from Cory Briney (kick blocked)
Will-Safety, quarterback tackled in end zone
Will-Safety, ball on punt snapped through end zone