Gettin’ the job done: Tigers one game away from State championship after defeating Pleasant Valley 28-21 in quarterfinals

Goliath fell Friday night. The football team advances to the semifinals against Cedar Rapids Xavier after beating the Pleasant Valley Spartans, previously 12-0, on the road Friday, Nov. 2 by a score of 28-21.

Cedar Falls jumped out to an early 14-point lead in the first half, and carried it into halftime. Pleasant Valley came out firing on all cylinders in the second half scoring 14 points. PV’s biggest touchdown came with three minutes remaining to knot the game up at 21 points apiece. The Tigers got the ball back with only minutes remaining, but found themselves in a hole on fourth and one on their own 29 yard line. PV bailed out Cedar Falls though, getting hit with a too many players on the field penalty, giving the Tigers a first down. The momentum boost of the first down propelled the Tiger ground game. Senior Nick Clark finished off the drive, scoring his second touchdown of the night, with just 40 seconds left to put the game away.

Senior Brayden Longnecker picked off Brady Letney on the ensuing drive to finish off the game. “I’d say it was pretty important we got up early by two touchdowns and had a good cushion only five or six minutes into the game,” junior quarterback Brian Cook said.

The Tiger defense continued to look stellar this week. After shutting down the top two rushers in the state the previoius two weeks, the defense held the number one offense in  class 4A to 279 total yards of offense. “Our defense has really stepped up and helped out our offense. We’re giving [our offense] good field position, and keeping other teams’ point totals low. We’re just trying to make it easy as possible for the offense,” junior linebacker Jared Farley said. Farley leads the team in total tackles with 131, and is fifth in the state in tackles.

Senior running backs Nick Clark and Jake Buck combined  for 296 yards on the ground. Combined with Cook’s 80 yards through the air, the Tiger offense was too much for the Spartan defense to hold down.

Senior Brandon Corkery made his return to the Tiger lineup against Cedar Rapids Kennedy and found himself a lot more effective Friday night at Pleasant Valley than he was against Kennedy. “I think that defenses have backed off a lot since Corkery came back. They can’t put as many guys in the box because they have to respect our passing game. We have the ability to go deep again,” Cook said.

If Cedar Falls were to beat Xavier Friday night, they would play on Friday, Nov. 16 in the state championship game against the winner of Ankeny (12-0) and Southeast Polk (10-2). The Ankeny vs. Southeast Polk game will be played Friday at 4 p.m. before the Cedar Falls-Xavier game.

The Tigers look to redeem themselves Friday night, Nov. 9 at the UNI Dome against Cedar Rapids Xavier. The Saints already defeated Cedar Falls in the Dome this year during week 8 by a score of 24-7.

Eli Berregaard runs over a Cedar Rapids Kennedy defender in a second round playoff game.

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