“And this game is history.”
Those words from Menomonee Falls announcer Jerry Mislang allowed the Indians faithful to put their gloves back on and stop biting their nails.
The Indians (7-2, 6-1 Greater Metro) defeated the Appleton East Patriots (5-4, 4-3 Valley North) 20-17 in a tightly contested first-round matchup in the WIAA playoffs. The Indians will play Kimberly next week Friday or Saturday at a time and place to be determined. Kimberly defeated Milwaukee Morse-Marshall 77-0 Friday.
The Indians started the game slow generating two field goals off the leg of kicker Alec Knuese in the first half. The Patriots scored late in the first quarter on a 1-yard rush by Jared Jirschele. The Patriots stifled the Indians’ rushing attack all through the first, and the teams entered halftime in a close 7-6 battle.
The Indians conceded a field goal at the 7:48 mark in the third quarter, but started finding holes on their next possession. Cole Hernikl converted a big third down on their own 32 yard line to keep a drive alive. On that drive, Christian Almonte finally stretched his legs for a 62-yard gain to the Patriot 14.
Falls quarterback Adam Vechart finished the drive with a 14-yard keeper on the next play to put Falls up 13-10.
With 10:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, it appeared a Falls drive would stall on a failed third down attempt near the 40 yard line. However, a personal foul penalty on the Patriots kept the Indians’ drive alive and gave them the ball in enemy territory at the 39. The Indians continued to drive, and Christian Almonte rushed for a 10-yard touchdown with 6:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots answered immediately on their next drive, and Patriots running back scored a touchdown on a 1-yard drive after a three-minute drive. The Patriots attempted an onside kick, which was recovered by Falls.
The Indians were stopped on three straight plays, but punter Anthony Russo launched a magnificent punt that rolled out of bounds at the Patriot 5 yard line.
The Patriots moved the ball for a first down. However, two straight illegal motion penalties left the Patriots with a 3rd and 20. They gained one yard on the next play, and failed to convert on 4th and 19.
Q1, 12:00: Indians receive the opening kick, and Justin Johnson explodes for a 47-yard return to the Patriot 37 yard line. Falls will begin its first drive.
Q1, 8:37: FIELD GOAL! Indians drive stalls. Alec Knuese knocks in a 36-yard field goal to put Falls on the board. Indians 3 - Patriots 0
Q1, 8:27: Patriots will first drive start at their 39 yard line.
Q1, 7:39: Patriots go three-and-out. Punt goes unreturned to the Indian 28 yard line. Falls will take over.
Q1, 5:37: Indians go three-and-out, put is caught by the Patriots and tackled immediately. Patriots will start at their 43 yard line.
Q1, 2:25: Patriot quarterback Garrett Peterson connects with wide receiver Nathan Smith on a 19-yard pass to the Indian 1-yard-line.
Q1, 1:49: TOUCHDOWN! Patriot running back Jared Jirschele runs in for a 1-yard touchdown. Extra point is good. Indians 3 - Patriots 7
Q1, 0:18: Indians go three-and-out on its next drive. Anthony Russo punt rolls to the 10 yard line.
END OF QUARTER
Q2, 10:45: Indians start at the Patriot 29 yard line after a short punt.
Q2, 9:12: Indians turn the ball over on downs after going for it on fourth down. Patriots take over at their 27 yard line.
Q2, 7:27: TURNOVER! Falls linebacker Nick Jafuta intercepts a tipped Garrett Peterson pass. Indians take over at their own 47 yard line.
Q2, 6:28: Falls quarterback Adam Vechart connects with Justin Johnson for a 37-yard gain to the Patriot 14 yard line.
Q2, 4:48: FIELD GOAL! Falls kicker Alec Knuese knocks in a 30-yard field goal. Indians 6 - Patriots 7
Q2, 1:41: Indians drive stalls. Anthony Russo punt sails to the Patriot 7 yard line.
END OF QUARTER
Q3, 11:54: Patriots return kick to their 27 yard line. Will open the half on their first drive.
Q3, 10:14: Patriots driving. They have the ball on the Indians' 38 yard line with a 1st and 10.
Q3, 9:04: Patriots quarterback Garrett Peterson connects with receiver Joe Benthein for a 21-yard gain to the Indians' 18.
Q3, 7:48: FIELD GOAL! Patriots kicker Gabe Heindel kicks in a 32-yard field goal to extend the lead. Indians 6 - Patriots 10
Q3, 6:44: Falls running back Cole Hernikl converts a big 3rd and 7 with an 11-yard run. Indians have the ball at their 32 yard line.
Q3, 5:25: Falls running back Christian Almonte rushes for 62 yards to the Patriot 14 yard line.
Q3, 5:16: TOUCHDOWN! Falls quarterback Adam Vechart rushes for a 12-yard touchdown. Extra point is good. Indians 13 - Patriots 10
Q3, 3:48: TURNOVER! Falls' Cole Hernikl intercepts a Garrett Peterson pass. Falls takes over at their 43 yard line.
Q3, 1:42: Back to back false start penalties make it a 3rd and 19 for Falls, which they failed to convert. Punt caught for no return at the Patriot 16.
END OF QUARTER
Q4, 11:31: Cole Hernikl receives the Patriot punt. After a holding penalty on the return, the Indians will start their drive on their own 42 yard line.
Q4, 10:09: Personal foul against the Patriots on a failed third down attempt will keep the Falls drive alive. Ball at the Patriot 39 yard line.
Q4, 8:30: 15-yard pass from Adam Vechart to Justin Johnson gives Falls a first down at the Patriot 21 yard line.
Q4, 7:24: Vechart and Johnson connect again on a bubble screen for a first down at the Patriot 10 yard line.
Q4, 6:57: TOUCHDOWN! Indians running back Christian Almonte rushes to the right side for a 10-yard touchdown. Extra point is good. Indians 20 - Patriots 10
Q4, 6:48: Patriots' Tony Bauer has a big return on the ensuing kick to the Patriot 48 yard line.
Q4, 4:04: Patriots have a 1st and 10 and the Indians' 16 yard line. They've been moving the chains.
Q4, 3:17: TOUCHDOWN! Patriots running back Tony Bauer scores on a 1-yard run. Extra point is good. Indians 20 - Patriots 17
Q4, 3:09: Patriots attempt an onside kick, but Falls recovers. Indians will start at their 48 yard line.
Q4, 3:03: Falls running back Cole Hernikl rushes for 2 yards. Patriots use their first timeout. Ball at midfield.
Q4, 2:56: Falls running back Cole Hernikl rushes for no gain. Patriots burn another timeout. 3rd and 7 coming from midfield.
Q4, 2:50: Patriots stuff Falls for no gain. Burn their final timeout. 4th and 7.
Q4, 2:42: Falls punter Anthony Russo pins the Patriots back on their own 5 yard line on an excellent punt. Patriots have no timeouts remaining.
Q4, 2:31: Patriots quarterback completes a 10-yard pass for a first down. Patriots move the ball to the 15 yard line.
Q4, 2:25: After two incomplete passes, Patriots need to convert on 3rd and 10. An illegal motion penalty will make it 3rd and 15 from their 10 yard line. On the next snap, another illegal motion call. It's now 3rd and 20 from their own 5 yard line.
Q4, 1:43: Patriots fail to convert and 4th and 19. Indians take over at the Patriot 10 yard line. Indians in the victory formation.
END OF QUARTER