Fondy's offense just a bit too much for Falls football team in season-ending loss
Cardinals run out clock in end
In the end, the Menomonee Falls' football team's defense could not get off the field soon enough or often enough.
That's why the Indians' season came to a surprising end Friday with a 25-24 WIAA Division 1 Level 1 playoff loss to visiting Fond du Lac.
"We struggled to defend them, especially on the edge in the second half," Indians coach John Baker said. "On that winning drive (which came with about three minutes remaining), they hit a big 30-yard pass to their tight end and that got them set up.
"Our guys fought all night, but Fondy did an outstanding job."
With the loss, Falls ends its season at 7-3 while the Cardinals advance to host Germantown (8-2) in a Level 2 game at 7 p.m. Friday.
Gamble doesn't pay off
The end Friday came on a gamble that Baker took and lost. The Cardinals finished that aforementioned drive with a three-yard TD run at the 3:12 mark to take a 25-24 lead.
Falls got the ball back but faced a fourth and 10 and Baker elected to punt.
"We still had three timeouts left, we figured we were in good shape if we could get them off the field," he said.
But that didn't happen. Fond du lac was able to earn two first downs and then run out the clock.
Prior to that, the game went back and forth. The Indians pleased their home fans right away by scoring in the first minute on a Christian Almonte four-yard run, but Fond du lac wound up tying the score before the end of the period.
The Cardinals then took a 13-7 lead on a 20-yard TD pass in the second quarter, but then Almonte broke free for a 30-yard TD run with just 14 seconds left in the half and Falls had the lead going into the break, 14-13.
The advantage went to 21-13 on a 6-yard run by Almonte less than four minutes into the third period but then a 19-yard TD pass by the Cardinals closed the gap to 21-19 going into the fourth.
Penalty limits key drive
A key moment came early in the fourth quarter. Falls was driving and looked like it had picked up a key first down to keep the march going, but the play was called back due to a penalty. The Indians had to settle for a 22-yard Alec Knuese field goal to make it 24-19.
"That penalty set us back," said Baker. "You can't squander opportunities in the playoffs. They can cost you the game."
From there, Fondy was able to rally and score the game-winning TD.
Almonte finished his excellent career with 106 yards on 23 carries while Dan Dahlke caught two passes for 51 yards
The Cardinals rushed for 231 yards led by Justin Maratik's 103 on 24 tries.
"It was a very nice game to watch," Baker said. "At times we did some very nice things, but at key times we just didn't get the stop."
Offensive lineman Cody Marienthal was praised for his efforts.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Football: Hamilton workhorse closes career in style
- Sloppy Germantown boys basketball team roars past game Falls, 83-47
- High-speed Germantown girls overpower Falls, 73-54, in border clash
- Sloppy Germantown boys basketball team beats Falls for 60th straight
- Sports Wraps: Dec. 7
- Germantown girls basketball team overpowers Falls, 73-54
- Talented Menomonee Falls wrestling team wants more this season
- Young Falls girls hoops team optimistic this season
- Blue Knights show balance as basketball season takes off
- Healthy Almonte enjoyed banner season for Falls football team