BROOKLYN — Lynnville-Sully’s Hawks had converted a BGM fumble into the tying touchdown midway through the second quarter of Monday’s Class A second-round playoff game. It was 7-7.
The teams traded punts. The Hawk defense had the Bears in a third-and-one near midfield.
“Be ready for anything,” Hawk head coach Mike Parkinson called out to his defense coming out of a Bear timeout. The Bears lined up for what appeared to be a running play.
Instead, quarterback Bryan Kriegel rolled out and connected with Mayson Sherwood on a 53-yard touchdown passing play. That was the key play in the game. Things never went right the rest of night for the Hawks, losing 35-7.
“This was tough because we thought we had a shot at winning this one. But you can’t make mistakes like we did tonight against a great team like BGM,” said Parkinson after the game. “The turnovers and penalties are things we haven’t done the past few weeks, which is part of playing a good football team. BGM is going to make you make mistakes.”
It was a game that began so well for the Hawks, who ended the 2013 football season at 6-5.
Senior T.J. Cunningham’s 39-yard return of the opening kickoff put Lynnville-Sully in great field position. It was a promising start.
The Hawks marched to the Bears’ eight-yard line. They had first-and-goal at the eight. But the Bears protected their goal line on fourth-and-goal at the three, stopping senior running back Caden Doll at the two.
BGM proved why it is ranked in the top five of Iowa Class A. The Bears rolled down the field on a 98-yard touchdown drive. Jack Kline, the Bears’ senior running back, broke up the middle to go 48 yards for the score at the 3:54 mark of the first quarter. Kyle Gritsch kicked the extra point.
A series of three turnovers — two by the Hawks — kept the score at 7-0. BGM reached the Lynnville-Sully 32-yard line with 10 minutes left in the second quarter. The Bears elected to go for a fourth-and-one.
The Hawks stuffed Kriegel in the middle holding and taking possession of the football. Lynnville-Sully wasn’t able to move the ball and had to punt again.
BGM fumbled on first down with Hawk senior linebacker Payton Scandridge recovering the football at the Bears’ 20-yard line.
A six-yard run by senior Daniel Zimmerman plus a unsportsmanlike penalty on the Bears, moved the football to the Bear seven-yard line. Doll gained three yards then the Hawks were hit with another five-yard penalty.
Sophomore quarterback Sage Ehresman’s second-and-goal pass was off the mark. On third down, Ehresman floated a pass to the corner of end zone, which Doll hauled in for the touchdown. The play covered nine yards. Noah Engle, a sophomore, kicked the extra point and it was 7-7 at the 6:52 mark of the second period.
“We made some big plays. We had it right where we wanted it, at 7-all, then they hit the big pass play. We were still in the game at halftime, down two scores,” Parkinson said. “You can’t say enough about our kids’ effort tonight. They didn’t give up and they fought to the end.”
After the Bears took the 14-7 lead two minutes later, the Hawks turned the ball over on a fumble. BGM went 30 yards in five plays. They lined up in field-goal formation on a fourth-and-two at the Hawk six-yard line.
But the holder brought his knee up off the ground as he took the snap then flipped the football over his shoulder to Gritsch, who is the kicker. Gritsch sprinted to the end zone for the touchdown. The Bears led 21-7 at halftime.
Lynnville-Sully stopped the Bears on the opening possession of the second half and forced a punt. The Hawks moved the football on the running of senior Bailee Samson and Doll. Samson picked up nine yards on a fourth-and-one play.
The Hawks went for a fourth-and-six at the BGM 37. The Bears intercepted the pass, setting up shop at their own 32-yard line.
“No one likes losing in the playoffs because you have a dream of where you want to be. We didn’t execute the way we needed to tonight. I thought BGM’s offensive and defensive lines controlled the game,” Parkinson said. “We had to play flawless football tonight to beat a great team and we didn’t do that.”
BGM scored with 3:54 left in the third period on a nine-yard run by Kline, who had 199 yards on 25 carries. Another interception gave the ball back to the Bears a minute later. They scored the final touchdown — a 15-yard run by Kline — at the 10:45 mark of the fourth quarter.
Following the trophy presentation at the end of the game, Parkinson told his team to be proud of what it accomplished this season. He said most teams would have folded after losing their first four games of the season.
“One loss in the next five games and we wouldn’t have qualified for the playoffs. Hold your heads up and be proud of this season,” he told his players.
Parkinson said the Hawk seniors provided tremendous leadership and the team had a lot of younger players step up this season also. He said he wanted to give credit to the rest of the Lynnville-Sully coaching staff, “who put in a lot of time this season.”
Senior Payton Haack, who injured his knee during the summer and had surgery, was on the sideline in a wheelchair for the Hawks. Parkinson said Haack was a big part of the team and “it was tough for him not being out on the field. He is a hard-working young man who has been a part of our team from the beginning.”