Falcons beat Union; fall to St. Mary’s in District final

As he avoids the tackle, junior Elijah Stevens carries the ball down field. The Falcons defeated the Union Wildcats 59-16 on Nov. 4, then lost to St. Mary’s 48-3 on Nov. 11 in the Class 4 District 2 Final (Photo by Matia Puljic).

Despite their efforts, the Falcons fell to the St. Mary’s Dragons 48-3 at the Class 4 District 2 Final on Nov. 11.

The Falcons advanced to the District Final after toppling Pacific 68-14 in the first round, then defeating Union 59-26 at the District semifinals. Although the team prepared pretty extensively, Head Coach Eric Stewart said that there wasn’t much that would have contributed to the overall success of the team because the team is very skilled both offensively and defensively.

“There wasn’t a lot that could’ve gone right. That was a pretty stacked team and we struggled to block, we struggled to press on the outside, and when we had plays, we just didn’t make them in any position. That’s what happens sometimes when you play really good teams, they find ways to shut you down- and they did it, unfortunately,” Stewart said.

Similarly, senior Caelin Stegmann said that the team was stronger, leading some of the players to fail on plays.

“[I] feel like the score for them was a lot higher than it should have been. We stuck with them in the first quarter, being 6-3, then we kind of broke down defensively. A lot of the guys were afraid to hit the running back because he’s a [division one commit],” Stegmann said. “Then offensively, we started driving in the first quarter and we had a few chances to score but we did not capitalize off of that, then we broke down and couldn’t do anything in the first quarter. Then they just ran the score up and we couldn’t do anything [about it].”

Junior Sam Sutter says if the team were to go back in time to play the Dragons again, they’d need to work on defense mostly. He said they will need to work on the offensive energy because, during the game, the team was lacking motivation and energy.

“I think if we [were to] cover a lot of those d-passes, I know the d-line was getting pressure on the quarterback and we were stopping the run well, but it was just somebody was open. If there weren’t so many busted coverages, [the game] would have gone a lot differently defensively,” Sutter said. “As a whole team, I think that offensively they didn’t have that much life. If the offense gave us more time to rest and recover, mentally prepare for the next drive, then I think that would’ve helped [the game] out a lot.”

Junior wide receiver Tyler Metz said that offensively, the team was as prepared as they could be. Despite that, he said they failed to run the ball.

“I think we were prepared but we crapped the bed,” Metz said. “Offensively, the receivers could have opened up a little more. We did not have enough time to throw the ball and we weren’t running, we just weren’t moving the ball in general.”

Stewart said one of the main issues was the players’ skill levels and ages.

“The biggest problem was that they are just really good and we weren’t there yet, we’re still pretty young and we have I think 17 underclassmen starting for us. They had a bunch of seniors and D1 guys,” Stewart said.

Despite all their hard work this season, Sutter said that the team can improve their game next season during the off season. He said this can be done if the players put the work in both on and off of the field.

“I think that if the sophomore class coming up and the freshmen that contributed this year build up mentally and physically in the weight room, then over the summer, build up their football IQ, I think they’ll be really good and we could be really good next year,” Sutter said.