Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 8 at Independence

It was put up or shut up time for the Bobcats!  With the last play-off spot on the line, we rolled in to Independence on Friday night with the understanding that this is what the season comes down to: one game.  We win and we are a four seed in the play-offs, we lose and we are out.  The cool twist to this night was that Independence was in the same boat.  If they win, they would be in the post season for the first time since 1986.  It had been a long drought for the Mustangs.  Their home fans showed up in droves and came with plenty of energy to support their boys.  But the WD stands were not empty by any means.  Knowing what was on the line, the Bobcat Nation traveled well and helped us bring home a victory.

As the pre-game anxiety set in, the Mustangs had parents night, extending the wait and building the pre-game tension to new levels.  But once the kick was off, we went straight to work.  We scored on our first drive with a Dylan Gansen run around the left side.  Dylan finished with 120 yards on the night and one TD.  With a 7-0 lead, the defense took over holding the Mustangs to a meager 130 total yards and 7 points.  With defense like that, it is tough to lose.  Right before the half, Nolan Baumhover connected with Austin Hosch on a fade to the end zone and a 14-0 halftime lead. 

A third quarter turn over led to a short field score for Independence, but we didn't bat an eye at it.  Our offense took us the length of the field again and scored a 3yard QB sneak on 4th down, to go ahead 20-7.  With an onside kick recovery after that, and a great defensive effort, we finished the game on the 2 yard line with two consecutive kneel downs to eat the clock and preserve the win with respect for a good opponent. 

We are excited to say that the Western Dubuque Bobcats are going back to the play-offs for the 3rd straight year.  As I told the team, the difference between the 1st seed and the 4th seed in the play-offs is the 1st round opponent.  After that, the competition is the same anyways.  You have to win to move on, but you have to get there first.  I am very proud of the way our team is competing and improving week by week.  With one more district game to play, we have the chance to sharpen our skills against a perennial powerhouse.  The Decorah Vikings are heading our direction next Friday.  They will step on to "The Buc" with a 21 game winning streak and the title of defending state champions.  There is no greater way to make a memory of a life time than by beating Decorah on our home field.  Friday night will be a great opportunity for us!  Go Bobcats!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Week 7: Bobcats vs DeWitt

Homecoming week was a wild week indeed.  With all of the activities that went on, our guys were excellent on the practice field.  We had a very good week of preparation.  We were definitely focused for the task at hand, which was to compete against a strong DeWitt team.  The Sabers record is a bit of a misnomer.  Their 3-3 record included the three games that they had to forfeit due to a participation rules infraction.  They would have been 5-1 entering the contest had they not been forced to give up two wins.  But records aside, we new what we were up against.  DeWitt returned a lot of members from last years quarter finals team that lost to the eventual state champion Decorah Vikings.  With that in mind, we game planned accordingly and came in ready to fight.

The first half was a battle.  After trading TDs, we found ourselves down 7-6 due to a missed extra point.  But with a 7-6 halftime deficit and some great adjustments, we bounced back trading TDs again (Ben Burds with two TDs on the night), but this time we converted the 2 point conversion to tie things up at 14.  With seven minutes left in the forth quarter, things began to get ugly.

Two interceptions and a fumble in the final quarter were too much to overcome.  Each of those led to Saber touchdowns, and we just couldn't get back on track.  The effort was fantastic, and I am so proud of our attitude in the face of adversity.  Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way, and it surly didn't against DeWitt.  We knew the game was going to be tough, we learned from our mistakes, and we bounced back for the "play-off" game that was to come against Independence the following week.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Week 6 at Oelwein

The Oelwein game was one of the strangest lightning storms I have ever seen. After the Freshman game opened for the varsity contest, we had about an hour wait. The state rule is to start varsity games no sooner than 7:30. As the clouds began to roll in, we wondered if we would be able to start the contest with the storms to the North of us putting on quite the light display. As we stuck to the schedule, the pregame routine started to create a little spark of our own. By kick-off, it was time to flip the switch, and that is exactly what the boys did. With a balanced attack of rushing and passing, we found ourselves with a 42-0 lead with 9 minutes left in the second quarter. It was a full out substitution. With our second string on the field, we continued to march the ball and scored another TD when Jason Kauffmann plunged ahead for a six yard run. After a lengthy half-time, the officials postponed the game due to lightning. After a 45 minute wait, the game was called, ending with a 42-7 Bobcat victory over the Huskies. It was a strong first half display. Nolan Baumhover finished with 2 TD passes and a 7/8 passing performance for 150 yards. This half game of offense puts us second in the district in total offense with 2049 total yards, almost balanced at 1000 on the ground and 1000 in the air. This weeks homecoming game against a strong DeWitt team will be a great test of our play-off potential. Go Bobcats!

Jason Kauffmann

Nolan Baumhover

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 5: Bobcats vs Crestwood Cadets

Going into Week five, we had a great week of practice and felt fully prepared for what we were going to see.  The Cadets came out in the double tight wishbone formation and did a great job of establishing their offensive line of scrimmage.  They put together a long opening drive and finished it off with a TD.  Defensive penalties kept their drive alive on two different occasions.  We responded with a long drive of our own, but with a missed extra point, we trailed 7-6.  After a quick score from a QB keeper around the edge, we responded with a quick drive again, only to be intercepted at the three yard line.  The cadets scored again before the half and left us with a chance to put it in the end zone right before half.  After a controversial call that didn't go our way, we headed into the half trailing 20-6.

After the WD Band performed their annual light show, always a crowd pleaser, the lights came back on and we were ready to go.  Getting the ball to start the second half, we sustained a long drive that lead to another Dylan Gansen TD.  Unfortunately our inability to stop the ball in the second half continued, and a costly fumble turned the ball over after a scoring opportunity.  After the fumble things began to unravel.  As frustration set in, we lost our composure and piled up 5 personal fouls on the night.  It was a poor response to adversity, one that we are not proud of as a program.  But the game of football is meant to be a learning experience.  These matters have been analyzed, discussed and addressed.  We are taking extra time this week to discuss the importance of character.  Losing never feels good, but losing without class is not acceptable and not part of what our program represents.  With close to 200 yards of penalties, we could not overcome the hole that we created for our team and finished with a loss.  Our efforts are focused on improving our play and how we handle adversity.  We look forward to Friday night against Oelwein to try to iron out some of our mistakes.  The play-offs are still in our sights.  One game at a time.