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Underwood Football Coach Nate Mechaelsen (11-10-23)
‘Physical’ MFL-MarMac Ends Underwood’s Season at the UNI Dome, 41-28 -
(11-10-23) – Time just ran out on the Eagles season.
Underwood couldn’t find an answer to shut down the Bulldogs running game as MFL-MarMac would rush for 408 yards in 41-28 win over the Eagles Friday.
Underwood Coach Nate Mechaelsen said his team couldn’t get the stops they needed against a physical offensive line.
“Their offensive line is big and physical. It seemed like we had them stopped for one or two and it ended up being four- or five-yard gains. We just couldn't quite get timely stops. We got a few and we started to swing some momentum we just couldn't put two together and capitalize on the other end.”
“Obviously it's not fun,” said senior lineman Max Tiarks. “There's a lot of emotion, but I think I'm fine with it just because that team deserved it.”
Underwood got up early with a getting a 9-yd TD reception by Mason Boothby, but a missed extra point would make it just a 6-pt lead. MFL-MarMac then went on a 9 play, 80-yrd drive ending in a Quinn McGeough 11-yd TD run to give the Bulldogs the lead. Underwood counter with a drive of their own that ended in a 6-yd TD run by Graham Jensen to give the Eagles a 13-7 lead after 1 qtr.
But MFL-MarMac would dominate on the ground for the final two series of the half, chewing up 11:43 while running 26 plays with both ending in McGeough TD’s to give the Bulldogs a 21-13 halftime lead. MFL-MarMac would win the time of possession battle, having control of the ball for nearly 34 min.
After a Pick-6 by Bryce Radloff on the opening drive of the 2nd half made it a two score game, Eagles QB Garrett Luett would hit Boothby for the 2nd time, this one from 66-yds out, and a 2-pt conversion to Jack Vanfossen would make it a 28-21 game with 9:04 remaining in the 3rd qtr.
With all the momentum going the Eagles way after forcing the Bulldogs to punt on their next drive, Luett was sacked by linebacker Carver Blietz-Bentien, who forced a fumble that was recovered by MFL-MarMac on the Underwood 30. The Bulldogs would score 5 plays later on another McGeough TD run that all but sealed the win.
McGeough had 139yds and 5 TD's for the Bulldogs while Blietz-Bentien led the team with 158 rushing yds. MFL-MarMac will play Grundy Center on Thursday in the Class 1A Championship Game.
Boothby said he felt fortunate to return to Cedar Falls for his senior year.
“We had a really good season. Everybody wants to end at the Dome and we were fortunate to be able to. We really wanted to play one more game, but only one team can end the season on the win and unfortunately that was not us. They played really good game and the better team won today.”
Boothby finished with 183 receiving yds and 2 TD’s. Luett threw for 282 yds and 3 TD’s. Gus Bashore had 9 tackles to lead the Eagles on defense.
Mechaelsen is proud of how his senior class performed not just this year, but in their previous years leading his team.
“I remember their career as just as good. Great leaders, just really successful football players, really talented football players, really good people.”
But while Mechaelsen knows his seniors will be missed, he knows he has a core of young players returning next year with the goal getting back to the UNI Dome again, this time to finish what they’ve started.
“It think we have some really good young players that just had didn't get the opportunity to play because they were behind some talented players that I hope are going to take this next step.”
Boothby had this advice to his teammates who will continue their journey to state title next season.
“Stay on your path. Keep your head down. Keep working and it’ll all come together. Trust your coaches. We have really good coaches here at Underwood, so trust those and we'll succeed.”
Underwood finishes their year with a record of 10-2.
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