Whiteford came up short Saturday afternoon in its bid to make its first-ever state championship football game.
The Bobcats (10-3) fell to Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (13-0), despite piling up 317 yards of total offense. The culprit, Whiteford coach Jason Mensing said, was two drives that stalled inside the Lakers’ two-yard line.
“You’ve got to convert those two drives into points,” Bobcat coach Jason Mensing said. “To get down there, get that close and to come up empty is disappointing.”
The first missed opportunity came on the game’s opening drive when Jesse Kiefer’s 47-yard run put the Bobcats in scoring position. A couple of plays later, however, the Bobcats fumbled, turning it over to Waterford. Later in the half, trailing 22-8, the Bobcats had four cracks at the goal line from the two-yard line and closer but came up empty.
Twice it looked like the Bobcats scored – once on a Cody Kiefer run and the other when QB Thomas Eitnear hit the pylon with the ball on third down. The referees, however, ruled his knee hit out of bounds first.
Waterford’s two TDs in the second quarter were not without its own controversy. On one of the TD passes, the ball appeared to have hit the ground, but officials called it a touchdown.
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In the third quarter, Whiteford pulled within 22-14 on a Jesse Kiefer TD, but couldn’t draw any closer. Waterford put the game out of reach with a couple of fourth quarter TDs.
Cody Kiefer led the Bobcats in rushing with 100 yards while Jesse Kiefer added 93 and Josh Beck 85. Jake Becki caught a TD pass and led the Bobcats with 9 tackles on defense.
WOLL head coach Josh Sawicki credited his team with making some timely catches and the defense with its stops.
“I was really impressed them,” Sawicki said. “If we don’t get those two goal line stands in the first half, that’s a much different game in the second half.”
Mensing said the Bobcats have a lot to be proud of.
“This is great for the kids,” he said. “The community really got behind us and it was a great run. We’re excited about what we accomplished. We have a lot of pride in what we did this year.”