CAMBRIA — An eight-game winning streak for the Potosi varsity football team came to an end last Friday night in a WIAA Division 7 Level 2 playoff game, where host Cambria–Friesland handed the Chieftains a 24–22 loss.
Coach Mark Siegert’s eighth-ranked Chieftains concluded a sensational season with an overall record of 8–3, while the sixth-ranked Hilltoppers (12–0) move on to face Burlington Catholic Central (11–0) in a level-three playoff contest.
As the fourth seed in their D7 playoff bracket, the Chieftains gave the top-seeded Hilltoppers all they could handle last Friday night.
While each team found the end zone three times, Cambria–Friesland converted on all three two-point conversion attempts, while Potosi converted on two, and missed on one.
“We knew going into it that it was going to be that kind of a game,” said Potosi coach Mark Siegert. “We had some missed opportunities, but you can’t really narrow it down to just one play. There were 135 plays in that game, so it doesn’t come down to just one.”
Potosi took its first and only lead of the game on its second offensive possession with a three-yard TD run by senior Teagan Friederick, who also had a 45-yard run earlier in the drive. Friederick’s touchdown capped off a six-play scoring drive that covered 56 yards, and a two-point conversion run by Tommy Pluemer gave the Chieftains an 8–0 lead with 5:03 to play in the first quarter.
Cambria–Friesland’s first score came early in the second quarter and was set up by a fumbled punt return by the Chieftains.
The Hilltoppers scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Bennett Koopmans, and added a two-point conversion run by Jonathan Pulver, knotting the score at 8–8.
The rest of the first half was a defensive slugfest. The Hilltoppers blocked a punt, but the Chieftains forced an incompletion at the Potosi 36.
Potosi’s offense went three-and-out twice, but the defense forced a three-and-out, and Trenton Bauer picked off a Koopmans’ pass.
Cambria–Friesland wasn’t known for its passing coming into the game, but Koopmans connected with Pulver for a 45-yard touchdown pass six plays into the third quarter, followed by a Koopmans-to-Pulver conversion connection to take a 16–8 lead.
Cambria–Friesland took an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter, and it wasn’t until midway through the fourth that Potosi had an answer.
Potosi senior quarterback Tyler Udelhoven connected with Pluemer on a crossing route, which Pluemer took 74-yards down the Potosi sideline for the score.
On the ever-important two-point conversion attempt, Udelhoven’s pass was broken up as the senior quarterback scrambled to find an open receiver.
With 7:32 to play in the game, and trailing 16–14, the Chieftains knew they had to get their defense off the field as quick as possible and give their offense a chance to win the game.
The Hilltoppers, though, were successful in running the ball and eating up valuable time, as they gained 57 yards on 10 rushing plays, but more importantly ate up five minutes and 22 seconds.
The back-breaker came with 2:03 to play in the game though, when Cambria–Friesland extended its lead to 24–14 on a seven-yard TD run by Logan DeBoer, followed by a critical two-point conversion run by Damian Hernandez.
In the final two minutes of the game, Udelhoven connected with Nathan Friederick on four different passing plays, which led to a one-yard TD plunge by Friederick with 12 seconds showing on the clock. Pluemer crossed the goal line on a two-point conversion run, making the score 24–22.
Potosi’s chances of completing a comeback were snuffed out when its onside kick was recovered by the Hilltoppers, who then took a knee to end the game.
On the night, Potosi managed 316 yards of total offense on 47 plays, while the Hilltoppers finished with 237 total yards on 58 plays.
A first for the Chieftains this year occurred last Friday night, where they had more passing yards (171) than they did rushing (145).
“They had a really, really aggressive front eight, so it was tough to run,” said coach Siegert. “Looking back at it, I wish we had thrown it a little bit more. I think our passing game was giving them problems in the second half, but we didn’t have the ball a whole lot either.”
On the ground, Teagan Friederick rushed for 83 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries, while Udelhoven had 37 yards on just five attempts. Nathan Friederick added 14 yards and one TD on seven carries, and Pluemer finished with 12 yards rushing on three attempts.
Udelhoven completed 9-of-17 passing attempts for 171 yards, finding Nathan Friederick seven times for 87 yards and one TD. Pluemer hauled in two passes for 84 yards.
Defensively, the Chieftains were led by junior linebacker Tanner Collins, who was in on 20 total tackles. Senior lineman Travis Wright had 15 stops. Senior Trenton Bauer had the game’s only interception.
“I’m just really proud of how the guys prepared and plus how they reacted to the adversity that we had at the beginning of the season,” said coach Siegert. “Everybody was kind of looking to see how they would react to an 0–2 start, which we are not accustomed to. There are a couple of different directions you could go there, and they obviously picked themselves up and worked hard to get better ever day. I’m very proud of those guys, and especially the seniors who led us all season.”
WIAA Division 7 Level 2 playoff
Cambria–Friesland 24, Potosi 22
(from Friday, Oct. 30 @ Cambria)
Potosi 8 0 0 14 — 22
Cambria–Friesland 0 8 8 8 — 24
P: Teagan Friederick 3 run (Tommy Pluemer run)
CF: Koopmans 1 run (Pulver run)
CF: Culver 45 pass from Koopmans (Keip pass from Koopmans)
P: Tommy Pluemer 75 pass from Tyler Udelhoven (pass failed)
CF: DeBoer 7 run (Hernandez run)
P: Nathan Friederick 1 run (Pluemer run)
First downs — P 14, CF 20. Rushing — P 30-145, CF 51-181. Passing — P 9-17-0 171; CF: 3-7-1, 56. Fumbles-lost — P 1-1, CF 0-0. Penalties-yards — P 1-5, CF 1-15.
Rushing — P: Teagan Friederick 15-83; CF: Logan DeBoer 11-46, Damian Hernandez 14-44. Passing — P: Tyler Udelhoven 9-17-0, 171; CF: Bennett Koopmans 3-7-1, 56. Receiving — P: Nathan Friederick 7-87, Tommy Pluemer 2-84; CF: Jonathan Pulver 1-45.