SULLY — There was plenty to cheer about for the Lynnville-Sully football team and its fans on Monday night, but one of the biggest ovations was from the team when it was reminded that it was only one game away from the UNI-Dome.
With an offense that was the picture of efficiency and a defense that remained in its recent lockdown mode, the Hawks breezed by district foe Montezuma, 41-0, to advance to the Class A playoffs quarterfinals.
The win was also the second of the season over Montezuma, with the total score between the two games being 62-0 in favor of the Hawks.
“Obviously any time you get a win in the playoffs, you’ve got to feel good about it,” Lynnville-Sully coach Mike Parkinson said. “That’s what playoff football is all about. You’ve got to keep going, and the ones that can go the longest are the ones that are the happiest at the end of the year.”
It didn’t take long for the Hawks to show what kind of night it was going to be. Beginning the night with a long, methodical drive, the Hawks scored on their first possession with a seven-yard touchdown run from junior Daniel Zimmerman. After forcing a Braves punt on their ensuing possesion, Lynnville-Sully got another touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter, this time from junior Caden Doll, to take an early 12-0 lead.
“I think everyone had their best game tonight and everyone just did the jobs they needed to do,” Hawk senior Cale Van Wyk said.
Van Wyk got into the scoring action in the Hawks’ third drive, which ended in a 12-yard pass from Van Wyk to fellow senior Nathan Russell to effectively quiet the boistrous Braves fans in attendance. The drive began after a Montezuma fumble, which would be a revisited theme later in the game.
Lynnville-Sully really kicked it into high gear on its next possession, which lasted only two plays. Doll opened the drive with a four-yard run, but junior Bailee Samson ended it on the next play with a 76-yard touchdown rumble that gave the Hawks a 26-0 lead.
And just when things seemingly couldn’t get any better for the Hawks, they forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to start with the ball on the Montezuma 27-yard line. A few plays later, Samson powered his way in from a yard out to give Lynnville-Sully a commanding 34-0 lead at the half.
“It was great that we could get them to fumble the ball and especially when we were in position to score again,” Van Wyk said. “Special teams were really good, especially on kickoff.”
The second half didn’t have nearly as much excitement as the first, but it served its purpose as the Hawks began to kill the clock. After they punted for the first time in the game, the Hawks got the ball back with another forced fumble off a sack by Samson. Doll then punched it in from six yards out to peg the game at its eventual final score of 41-0.
Considering the whispers of Montezuma’s 21-point swing in the second half of its first-round win last week, Parkinson was pleased the Hawks weren’t willing to allow that to happen again. Instead, the fourth quarter only featured one drive by each team and the seconds ticked away quickly.
“We just did a whole lot of things right tonight, and it was good to see it all come together in a big game,” Parkinson said. “We really preached to our guys that (Montezuma) has the ability to turn it around, and you can’t leave the door open for them at all, and they really took that to heart and shut the door fast. We were able to get the momentum right away and just keep it.”
The Hawks will face yet another familiar opponent on Friday night, this time with a trip to the UNI-Dome on the line, when Brooklyn-Guernsey-Malcom comes to Sully. BGM has won seven games in a row since losing to the Hawks 33-7 on Sept. 14, and bumped off defending state champion Lisbon Monday night.
“They’re another physical football team, and I think they’re playing their best football right now,” Parkinson said of BGM. “We’ve got to come to play like there’s no tomorrow, because there is no tomorrow. They’ve really come into the picture now as a threat to a lot of teams in the playoffs.”
Although Parkinson and the team are way of their next game, there is also an undeniable buzz in the air in Sully. Parkinson said he plans to stick with the team’s formula of tough defense and running the football, which has produced six shutouts in the past seven games and point differential of plus-311 in that same time.
“We’re excited,” Van Wyk said. “It’s been a while since L-S has been in the quarterfinals and I think we’re ready to keep stepping it up and playing better.”
Lynnville-Sully 41, Montezuma 0
M — 0 0 0 0 — 0
L — 6 28 7 0 — 41
L — Daniel Zimmerman one-yard run (Jamie Rae kick blocked), 6:44
L — Caden Doll two-yard run (two-point conversion failed), 10:22
L — Cale Van Wyk 12-yard pass to Nathan Russell (two-point failed), 7:18
L — Bailee Samson 76-yard run (Doll two-point conversion), 4:51
L — Samson one-yard run (Zimmerman two-point conversion), 0:55
L — Doll six-yard run (Rae kick good), 3:36