Menomonee Falls - As good as Menomonee Falls football coach John Baker felt his third-seeded Indians played for the first 24 minutes of the Indians' WIAA Division 1 Level 2 showdown with second-seeded Kimberly, the 12 minutes that followed took all that good feeling away.
The Papermakers (9-1) scored three touchdowns over the span of 3 minutes, 41 seconds to run away with a game that was 3-0 at halftime and took a 31-0 victory, ending the Indians season at Papermaker Stadium. Kimberly advances to a Level 3 game against powerful Arrowhead (10-0) this weekend.
"I was proud of how our defense played the first half," Baker said. "In the second half, they have the potential to score quick and put a hurting on you and they did just that. They are a well-coached team that made big plays in the third quarter and got away from us."
The Indians (7-3) felt good going into the second half after being the first team all season to go scoreless through the first quarter with the Papermakers and hold them to just 76 yards in the first half with just a field goal separating the teams on the scoreboard.
"Everything went how we wanted it to in the first half," Indians senior linebacker Brian Schmit said. "We wanted to keep this a close game. In the third quarter, they came out and they played their tail off and hit us hard."
Kimberly imposed its will immediately in the third quarter and needed just six plays and 1:46 to make it a 10-0 game.
Two plays into Falls' ensuing drive, the Papermakers forced a fumble and six plays later had another touchdown to make it 17-0.
The Indians could not escape the quicksand on its next possession. After just two plays, the Papermakers returned an interception 45 yards to make it 24-0 to cap a whirlwind 5:27 stretch.
"We talked at halftime that we had to come out and set the tone and control the line of scrimmage," Kimberly coach Steve Jones said. "We were able to get that first drive to get momentum, then a turnover and a big play here and another there and we were able to get things going.
"Our defense sure came to play tonight. To put a zero on the board against a team of (Falls') caliber is a great job by our defense."
The deficit kept the Indians from playing the offense they are built for, and they could not get anything going to the rest of the game, minus a late drive that stalled inside the Kimberly 25-yard line. The Indians were held to 134 yards, including 100 yards on the ground on 34 attempts.
The first half saw the defense hold the Papermakers to 76 yards, and Kimberly put the ball on the ground twice. Both times, the Papermakers recovered.
Offensively, the Indians also missed on a couple plays that could have swung the momentum their way and possibly get them on the board, including a halfback pass in the second quarter that fell incomplete.
Despite the result, Baker did not hold back in telling his team how proud he was of them for getting the school back into the playoffs since it played for the Division 1 state title in 2009.
"To our seniors: I know this stinks, you don't want it to end, but they got the best of us; that's all it was tonight," Baker said.
Schmit shared a long embrace with Baker after the game and was proud of what he helped the team accomplish.
"The whole year, the Greater Metro Conference said we weren't going to amount to anything and we would finish on the bottom half of the conference, but we finished second and almost won it," the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Schmit said. "I love every one of these guys on this team. I had a blast this year."
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