By Steve Peterson
It was a shoot-out at the OK Corral, or in this case, West Sioux’s Ebenoe Field, as the Falcons won their Homecoming game for the first time in three years by outlasting rival Akron-Westfield, 56-32 Sept. 27.
“Homecoming games are special and this one more so. This is a special group that’s been working hard since May. Tonight we’ll face a team 12 miles away and people who during the week work together side by side from Akron and Hawarden. I have a feeling the people from Akron will be calling in sick on Monday,” said West Sioux Head Coach Ryan Schwie-sow at a pep assembly before the game.
The win was the first for Schwiesow and gave the Falcons a 1-4 record, 1-2 in Class 1A. It was their first win over A-W since 2010 and fifth in the last 13 years.
The first half belonged to West Sioux with a 42-8 lead. A-W’s gallant rally closed the gap to 42-32 but West Sioux steadied the effort with late touchdown drives and finally sealed the win with an interception and one more score. Penalties were frequent for both halves.
“It was great. It was our first Homecoming win in three years. The fumble recovery was a huge momentum changer,” said senior Logan Van Noort.
“We’re just trying to get better every day. We knew A-W is a good team and will come back in the second half,” said Schwie-sow. “Mason Ericson made a great catch and has been a consistent receiver for us. Jesus Rivera is a heckuva quarterback.”
A long 30-yard pass set up the game’s first score, from Jesus Rivera to Mason Ericson, and Justin Negaard scored from two yards out. Two minutes into the game, West Sioux led 7-0, following a Mario Topete Point After Touchdown.
A-W got its first big play when Cal Eskra recovered a fumble and rambled 50 yards for a touchdown. A two-point conversion pass from Chance Hoffman to Kevin Carlson, and A-W led 8-6 with 30 seconds left in the first quarter.
Starting with an unsuccessful onside kick by A-W, the Falcons poured it on in the second quarter. The kick try led to a go-ahead scored by Negaard and a 14-8 home team lead; a blocked punt set up a 30-yard scamper by Rivera for a touchdown and a 21-8 margin; another Rivera on a 40-yard run made it 28-8; a 50-yard drive ended with a 30-yard pass from Rivera to Erison to set up a Negaard score. Rivera completed the onslaught with a four-yard run for a 42-8 lead at halftime.
Going with the no-huddle offense, the Westerners tried to get back in it.
Hoffman scored from 10 yards out and tossed to Kevin Carlson for a 42-16 deficit with five minutes left in the third quarter. A pass interference call on WS was a key to set up that score.
Hoffman ended a 50-yard drive with a 10-yard run for the next A-W score, and Carlson again gained the two-point conversion, making it a 42-24 deficit early in the fourth quarter.
West Sioux marched down field but a nice pass breakup by Carlson got the visitors the ball back at their 15. Hoffman scored from five yards out, again aided by a penalty on West Sioux the previous play, and took it in for two and suddenly an insurmountable 35-point deficit was down to 10 points, 42-32.
Together, WS would out a key scoring drive, which ended with a Rivera touchdown run for a 49-32 lead with two minutes left.
Porter Hummel ripped out the hearts of the A-W comeback bid as the sophomore picked off Hoffman’s pass with about a minute left.
Seeking to end in a dominating fashion, Rivera scampered for 68 yards, then finished the drive with a touchdown in the waning seconds — something that did not sit well with A-W.
Rivera guided the Falcons to the win as he helped the team with 345 yards of total offense and six touchdowns.
But it was WS’s Homecoming night, and a chance to ring the victory bell. Seniors posing for one last photo made it indeed a special night for A-W’s neighbors.
West Sioux hopes to make it two straight wins at Hinton (3-2, 2-1 district) in district play Oct. 4.
A-W (3-2, 1-2 district) tries to bounce back from a two-game losing streak and get healthier before a Homecoming clash with Sibley-Ocheyedan Oct. 4.
WS Game Statistics
Statistics of previous four games before Homecoming game:
Passing: Jesus Rivera: 25-of-53, 284 yards, 47.2 percent, 11.4 yards per completion, seven interceptions, two touchdowns, longest TD 28 yards.
Rushing: Justin Negaard: 62 attempts, 431 yards per carry, 7.0 yards per carry, five touchdowns, 53 longest touchdown run; Rivera: 65 attempts, 150 yards, 2.3 yards per carry, five touchdowns, six longest touchdown run; Mario Topete: 19 attempts, 97 yards, 5.1 yards per carry, one touchdown, longest was eight yards; Mitch Schlumbohm: three attempts, 12 yards, 4.0 yards per carry; Logan Van Noort: one carry, minus four yards.
Receiving: Schlumbohm: seven catches, 118 yards, 16.9 yards per catch; Mason Ericson: four catches, 85 yards, 21.3 yards per catch, two touchdowns, longest 28 yards; Kezden Blankenship: four catches, 37 yards, 9.3 yards per catch; Mario Topete: six catches, 26 yards, 4.3 yards per catch; Negaard: four catches, 18 yards, 4.5 yards per catch.
Total rushing and receiving: Negaard, 62 rushes, 431 yards, four receptions, 18 yards, 66 total plays, 6.8 yards per play, five touchdowns; Rivera: 65 rushes, 150 yards, 65 total plays, 150 total yards, 2.3 yards per play, five touchdowns; Schlumbohm: eight rushes, 23 yards, seven catches, 118 yards, 15 total plays, 141 total yards, 9.4 yards per play; Mario Topete: 19 rushes, 97 yards, six catches, 26 yards, 25 total plays, 123 total yards, 4.9 yards per play, one touchdown; Ericson: four catches, 85 yards, four total plays, 21.3 yards per play, two touchdowns; Blankenship: three rushes, 12 yards, four catches, 37 yards, seven total plays, 49 yards, 7.0 yards per play; Van Noort, one rush, minus four yards.
Scoring: Negaard: 34 points, 30 via rush, four via two-point conversions; Rivera: 30 points, 30 via rush; Mario Topete: 15 points, six via rush, seven via PAT points, two on two-point conversion; Ericson: 12 points via receiving.
Tackles, Defense: Negaard: 58 total tackles, three tackles for loss, three assist tackles for loss; Van Noort: 26 total tackles, four solo tackles for loss, four assist tackles for loss, two solo sacks, one sack assist; Schlumbohm: 20 total tackles; Mario Topete: 20 total tackles, three solo tackles for loss, two assist tackles for loss, one solo sack; Porter Hummel: 18 total tackles, one assist tackle for loss; Trevor Ericson: 17 total tackles, one solo tackle for loss, two assist tackle for loss; Ricardo Rodriquez: 16 total tackles; Dalton Waterman: 15 total tackles, one solo tackle for loss; one assist tackle for loss, one sack assist; Rivera: 14 tackles, one assist tackle for loss; Jonathan Duenas: 12 total tackles, one solo tackle for loss, one, one solo sack; Mason Ericson: 12 total tackles, one solo tackle for loss; Blankenship: seven total tackles, one solo tackle for loss; Albert Campo: seven total tackles, one solo tackle for loss, one solo sack; Gabe Topete: three total tackles; Antonio Topete: three total tackles; Devan Miller: three total tackles, one solo tackle for loss, two assist tackle for loss; Luis Ortiz: one total tackle.
Fumble recoveries: all for zero yards: Negaard, Rodriquez, Van Noort, two; Duenas, Mario Topete, one.
PATs: Mario Topete, 7-of-9; Field goals, Mario Topete, 0-of-1.
Kickoffs: Mario Topete: 17, 905 yards, three touchbacks.
Punting: Van Noort: 14, 667 yards, 47.6 average, 80 longest; Rivera: one, 37 yards.
Kickoff returns: Mario Topete: 12, 245 yards, 20.4 yards per return; Campo: two, 70 yards, 35 yards per return; Blankenship: three, 33 yards, 11 yards per return; Gabe Topete: one, three yards; Antonio Topete: one.
Punt Returns: Rivera: two, five yards, 2.5 yards average; Blankenship: one, minus three yards.