Prep Football Playoff Preview: FC, Augusta with road match-ups in Level 1
Fall Creek and Augusta find themselves in the WIAA prep football playoffs for the second season in a row. Level 1 games are set for Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m
FC's Level 1 match is against No. 9 ranked Auburndale in Division 6. The Crickets, 7-2 overall, were originally scheduled to take on Mondovi but a mix-up in enrollment numbers altered the WIAA's original playoff bracket. Auburndale was Marawood Conference tri-champs with Colby and Edgar after they downed the Hornets last week 20-14 to improve to 8-1 overall. Six-foot, 170-pound senior quarterback Trayton Weber leads Auburndale both in passing with 1,246 yards and rushing with 738. The Eagles use several different receivers led by Alex Willfahrt with 373 yards in catches while Evan Scholl has over 500 yards rushing.
Fall Creek had hoped to get a home match-up with a 7-2 overall record (5-2 in the Cloverbelt) after last week's win over the rival Thunder 38-0 at Schultz Field on Oct. 14. but found itself in a very competitive tournament bracket top-heavy with state ranked teams such as No. 8 Marshall as the top seed, No. 5 Markesan, No. 7 ranked Mondovi and No. 9 Auburndale.
"Regardless where we play and who we play we've happy we've earned back-to-back playoff berths and hope this we can get some wins." FC head coach Tyler Mickelson said.
Last season FC was beaten soundly by Durand-Arkansaw but the Crickets hope things have changed thanks to the good competition they've played this season for how they've shaped their offense.
FC's senior quarterback Eli Laube only threw a season-low seven passes (for 157 yards and a TD) against Osseo-Fairchild because Fall Creek was so effective running the football, a season-best 280 yards on 22 carries led by Kelly's 128 yards on 10 carries, Laube's 62 yards on three carries and senior Ryan Whittlinger's 43 yards on three carries.
"We really have been running the ball effectively on the edge to spread defenses out," Mickelson said. "They can't just stack the line or the middle on us and that balance is what we've been working towards and hopefully continue in the playoffs."
Senior Leo Hagberg once again led the Crickets in receiving with three catches for 102 yards and a TD while junior Jacob Wathke had one catch for 40 yards and snagged an interception. Kelly led the team in tackles with five while Whittlinger had four. Senior Ethan Ruff also had an INT.
The honor of taking on No. 7 ranked, 8-1 Mondovi and stopping backs Evan Falkner and Dawson Rud and receiver Cade Fremstad and their big and experienced frontline goes to Augusta. The Beavers qualified for the playoffs for the second season in a row after clinching a berth in a 54-13 win at home over Independence/Gilmanton last week Friday, Oct. 21.
Augusta didn't throw a pass in the game because they didn't have to. The 5-4 Beavers rushed for 341 yards led by Ben Dickinsen's 108 yards on four carries and Jackson Laxson's 82 yards on 10 carries and Colton Rinka's 71 yards on five carries. AHS also held the Indees to -15 yards receiving and 135 yards total offense. Laxson finished with three TDs, Dickinsen two and both Rinka and Levi White each had one rushing touchdown.
The winners of the FC-Auburndale/Mondovi-Augusta contests will meet in Level 2 of the playoffs on Oct. 28.