In the Falcons’ first game back in 11-man football in 6 years, they mounted a 4th quarter comeback and then held off Woodward Academy 28-26.
The 1st touchdown in head coach Jeff Whitehall’s 1st game at Wayne was scored by his son, junior quarterback Bret Whitehall.
“It’s not something you plan,” Jeff said. “We were on the goal line, and that’s a common play for us.”
After a couple early fumbles, running back Chasen Kiefer came back strong, carrying 27 times for 182 yards and 3 touchdowns. His long was 43 yards in the 2nd quarter.
After a couple of early offsides penalties, freshman Dayton Jacobsen made a touchdown-saving tackle on a punt return. On the next play, Jacobsen intercepted a pass and returned it 65 yards to set up a Wayne touchdown.
After dropping a pass for a 1st down, kicker Seth Sheriff placed a perfect football where Hunter Cobb could slide to recover it onside.
“He put it exactly where it had to be,” Whitehall said.
Just before the half, after Woodward Academy drove the length of the field into the red zone, Brady Langloss broke up a nicely thrown ball by Lashaud Dowell to prevent a touchdown with no time left on the clock.
“That’s one thing the kids did really well,” Whitehall said of his players’ resilience. “We talk about it all the time. Bad things are going to happen in a football game. It’s the team that handles those bad things that goes on to win. We had an offside, we had a false start, but the kids didn’t let it bother them—they just moved on.”
After leading 20-12 at the half, Wayne allowed 2 touchdown runs, 1 just before the end of the 3rd quarter to push Woodward ahead 26-20.
In the middle of the 4th quarter, the Falcons came back, Kiefer scoring his 3rd touchdown to tie the score, before Hunter Clark ran in the 2-point conversion to help his team take the lead for good.
With 2 minutes and 48 seconds left in the game, Wayne got the football back.
“I told the kids, we’re going to hold onto the ball for the next 2 minutes and 48 seconds, and we did,” Whitehall said.
Despite finishing 2 of 9 for 11 yards, Bret Whitehall was spot on with most of his passes. He also ran for 36 yards and made 3 tackles.
Clark carried the football 3 times for 23 yards and caught 1 pass for 6 yards. Cobb ran 4 times for 12 yards. Brooks Jacobsen caught 1 pass for 5 yards, returned a kickoff for 40 yards, scored on a 2-point conversion pass from Jakson Cobb, and made 2 tackles.
Jakson Cobb, a sophomore cornerback, led the Falcons with 2 interceptions. He returned 2 kickoffs for 24 yards and made 2 tackles.
Hunter Cobb led Wayne with 8 tackles and 1 sack. Fellow senior Spencer Buban also had 8 tackles and led the team with 3 for a loss. In his first game back as a Falcon, Dayton Jacobsen was dominant with 8 tackles, including 2 for a loss, while returning 1 squib kick for 5 yards.
Last year, Dayton was leading Clarke of Osceola’s junior high team in rushing while winning the Iowa boys decathlon. After a season away, he has suited up again for the Falcons to play with senior cousin Brooks.
Jeffery Alexander had 7 tackles, including 1 for a loss. Clark made 6 tackles. Kiefer had 5 tackles, including 1 for a loss. Langloss made 3 tackles, and Matt Davis and Sawyer Nickell each had 2 tackles. One of Nickell’s tackles saved an even longer gain by Dowell at the end of the 1st half.
“They were the team we studied on film,” Whitehall said of Woodward Academy. “We knew we had to keep their athletes from getting started and running, and our kids did a great job of it. Our defense was really solid.
“All of our kids contributed—they all played a huge part. That’s what we talked about today in practice. In that game, we didn’t know Chasen had all those yards, because we were distributing it to all the backs, and we were still trying to throw it.
“On defense, everyone was making their tackles. There were several times where our defender would start to wrap up the running back, and here came 6 more kids. When I was watching the film to see who made the tackle, it was hard, because there were 7 Wayne Falcons there, and it was hard to tell which one got there first.”
The Falcons recorded 9 tackles for a loss.
Tonight, Wayne travels to Cardinal of Eldon, which beat Van Buren 26-0 last week.