Alta-Aurelia falls short against the E-Hawks

Monday, October 9, 2017
Alta-Aurelia senior Kaleb Sleezer wards off an Emmetsburg defender on Friday night. The Warriors fell, 20-13, in their final home contest of the season.
Photo by Mara Rohwer

ALTA - Alta-Aurelia battled in front of their home crowd on Friday night on a wet field and fell short against a tough Emmetsburg rushing attack, 20-13.

The teams battled evenly in the first quarter on the sloppy field. Emmetsburg worked their way to the Warriors’ 12, but was stopped on downs by a fierce Alta-Aurelia stand. AA nearly connected on a bomb for a possible score, but an E-Hawk defender was able to close at the last moment to break it up. Late in the period, Emmetsburg had another drive going, but opted to punt on fourth down to pin the Warriors deep. The period ended with no score.

Emmetsburg started the second quarter grinding out a slow drive, going for it on fourth down in the red zone on a fullback dive. Dylan Kibbie carried it in from a yard out moment later. The PAT missed, making it 6-0 with seven minutes left. Alta-Aurelia had no opportunity to answer, fumbling the ball away on a muffed snap, and the E-Hawks took advantage quickly with a 25-yard TD pass from Connor Joist to tall receiver Blake Vermole, who doubles as the center on the basketball team, and a two-point conversion. The Warriors threatened, aided by a pair of 15-yard personal fouls, but a holding call ruined what had appeared to be a 30-yard TD pass. The Warriors came right back on the next play with a 41-yard Zach Issa circus catch to the 3. Logan McCoy carried it on on a quarterback sneak, but a trick double-pitch play for two failed. Emmetsburg marched again, but with time running out, AA’s Anthony Krier picked off the hail mary to the endzone to close the half with the E-Hawks leading 14-6.

Neither team found success on the scoreboard in the third quarter. AA took the ball to begin the second half, picking up a some first downs, highlighted by a McCoy shovel pass to Kaleb Sleezer for 18 yards on a third and long. However, the drive stalled at their own 40 yard line, giving the ball back to the E-Hawks.

The Warrior defense put the clamps down and forced a punt. The offense tried to get some momentum built up but were once again gave the ball back to Emmetsburg. Both teams continued to fight back and forth through the third period and through most of the fourth.

Facing third down at eight at their own four midway through the fourth quarter, the Warriors ran a half pass back for a 34 yard gain to Issa with Sleezer tossing the ball. The second third down of the drive failed to go the Warriors’ way as McCoy went down looking to pass. Faced with a fourth down and having to go for it, McCoy heaved up a prayer and was intercepted, giving the E-Hawks the ball with 4:43.

Emmetsburg and Nicholas Schany began to work the block, Schany picking up the tough yards and Kibbie picking up his second touchdown of the night late in the contest. Krier nearly returned the ensuing kickoff with 31 seconds left in the game. A 25 yard score from McCoy to Sleezer drew the Warriors within a score again, 20-13 with 17.7 seconds left, but the onside kick only traveled two yards to give Emmetsburg the ball back.

The Warriors had 193 yards of total offense against the E-Hawks. McCoy went 4-for-11 passing for 92 yards and one touchdown. McCoy also had three yards rushing on 11 carries. Sleezer had nine carries for 48 yards, two catches for 43 yards and one completion for 34 yards. Issa had two catches for 76 yards. Issa and Krier both had interceptions defensively as Jaden Henrichs had 13.5 tackles.

Alta-Aurelia falls to 2-5, 1-4 on the year. They will travel to Milford on Friday night to take on Okoboji. ‘Boji enters this contest with a 2-5, 0-4 mark. They fell against Unity Christian this past week, 44-0.

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