By Steve Pilz For Zaleski Sports
ABBOTSFORD – The Abbotsford Falcons did what they do best, and that’s rush the football.
The Falcons rushed for nearly 400 yards and came back from a halftime deficit to down Auburndale 26-21 in a WIAA Division 6 football playoff game Friday night at Abbotsford High School.
It ends an otherwise highly-successful season for the Apaches (8-3), who lost only to perennial powerhouses Stratford and Edgar before bowing to the Falcons.
Meanwhile, Abbotsford will take an undefeated record of 11-0 into next Friday’s game against Coleman, a No. 6 seed that up-ended No. 2 seed Manawa 46-28. That game will be in Abbotsford on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.
Abby drew first blood at the 10:34 mark when Cade Faber scored from 16 yards out after a five-play drive.
Auburndale answered right back going 61 yards in 10 plays. Cooper Weinfurter’s four-yard run for a score made it 8-7 Abby.
But Abby got that score back near the end of the first quarter when Mason Wellman got in from the 1 on a direct snap to the up-back and it was 14-7.
Auburndale answered yet again, going 11 plays before Kyle Peterson scored from the 5 to bring the score back to even.
Abby quarterback Dalton Feddick made his only mistake of the night when he fumbled the ball to the Apaches after a six-play drive and Weinfurter made them pay when he found Dylan Paun with a 31-yard scoring strike with 3:23 left in the half to give the Apaches a 21-14 lead.
Feddick led his team on an eleven-play drive but came up empty before the half ended.
The quarterbacks were the story in the opening half. Weinfurter went 10-for-13 for 128 yards passing in the first half and Feddick had 92 yards on 15 carries for the Falcons to set up an interesting second half.
Unless, you don’t get the ball.
Feddick went to work right away rushing for 47 yards on a 12-play drive that netted 71 yards before Faber scored from 7 yards out. The Apaches stopped the two-point conversion and clung to a 21-20 lead.
When Falteisek stepped in front of Weinfurter’s pass on first down, the Falcons had an interception on the Apaches’ 43. Nine plays later, Falteisek found paydirt from the six and the Falcons never looked back, taking a 26-21 lead.
The Apaches ran four more plays in the third quarter and seven at the start of the fourth.
Auburndale coach Jay Anderson gave Abby due credit, but lamented his team’s chances.
“You know what they’re going to do, but they do it so well,” Anderson said. “It’s frustrating. It’s going to be off tackle left and then off tackle right and then a fullback trap. It’s just so tough to take them on when they’re down-blocking and pull the house. We had some stops and some opportunities. We thought we could get some more but we ended our own drives.
“We didn’t take full advantage of what they gave us. Abby played a lot of big games over the years. Maybe that’s helped them with that experience. Give them a ton of credit. What they do, they do very well.”
With about nine minutes left, Abby simply went on another long drive, this one 16 plays.
They eventually missed a 25-yard field goal giving the ball back to the Apaches, but with just over a minute or so to play. Weinfurter got hit as he threw on the second play of the drive and it fell into the arms of Angel Diaz, a linebacker, and that was that.
“I think our offense is designed for that three yards at a crack,” said Abby coach Jake Knappmiller.” It’s smash-mouth football and it’s good for weather like this and we came out and executed in the second half.
“If it’s not blocked correctly, he (Feddick) doesn’t have holes and he definitely runs hard, so we try and get him to that one player that he needs to make miss or run through him. Everybody did their job up front and we moved the ball pretty well.”
Abby ran 39 plays in the second half compared to just 14 for the Apaches and that was the difference.
Feddick finished with 210 yards rushing on 36 carries for the Falcons.
Falcons 26, Apaches 21 Auburndale 7 14 0 0 — 21 Abbotsford 14 0 12 0 — 26 First Quarter ABBY – Cade Faber 16 run (Ty Falteisek run), 10:34. AUB – Cooper Weinfurter 4 run (Hunter Wright kick), 7:39. ABBY – Mason Wellman 1 run (run failed), 1:29. Second Quarter AUB – Kyle Peterson 1 run (Wright Kick), 8:43. AUB – Dylan Paun 31 pass from Weinfurter (Wright Kick), 3:23. Third Quarter ABBY – Faber 7 run (run failed), 6:14. ABBY – Falteisek 4 run (run failed), 1:32. Team Statistics First downs: AUB 13; ABBY 22 Rushing (att.-yards): AUB 22-89; ABBY 63-395 Passing (comp.-att.-yards-int.): AUB 15-23-173-2; ABBY 2-4-13-0. Total yards: AUB 262; ABBY 408. Fumbles (total-lost): AUB 1-1; ABBY 2-2. Penalties (total-yards): AUB 3-40; ABBY 4-45. Individual Statistics Rushing: AUB, Weinfurter 8-41, Peterson 12-41, Paun 2-7. ABBY, Dalton Feddick 36-210, Falteisek 18-88, Faber 9-60, Wellman 3-23. Passing: AUB, Weinfurter 15-23-173-2. ABBY, Feddick 2-4-13-0. Receiving: AUB, Paul Kollross 6-54, Peterson 3-55, Paun 3-44, Wright 3-20. ABBY, Mason Carpenter 1-12, Falteisek 1-1. Records: Auburndale 8-3; Abbotsford 11-0.