CONWAY SPRINGS — The Conway Springs defense was not dominant Friday night against Garden Plain, but delivered a stop when it mattered most.
The Cardinals stopped Garden Plain from scoring on two offensive series inside the 10-yard line, then ended the Owls’ comeback hopes with an interception on Garden Plain’s final drive, pulling out a 19-13 win at Conway Springs.
Conway Springs can clinch a postseason berth with a win next week over Belle Plaine.
“They bent, but they didn’t break,” Conway Springs coach Matt Biehler said. “We forced some turnovers and we were really focused. We made some big plays.”
No play was bigger, perhaps, than Dakota Davis’ interception of Garden Plain quarterback Aaron Tomlinson in the fourth quarter with the Owls trailing by six points.
Tomlinson, playing because of an injury to starter Thomas Bugner’s throwing hand, threw a 21-yard touchdown pass and rushed for a score to pull his team to within a touchdown after trailing 19-0. He also completed a big fourth-down throw the play before the interception, on a similar route to intended target Blake Withrow.
“They had some success passing the football, but Dakota Davis really stepped up,” Biehler said.
Conway Springs ran out the clock with a key third-down conversion.
Running the football was key for the Cardinals. Utilizing quarterback Caleb Brill, Conway Springs scored the first two touchdowns. Brill scored from 39 yards on the fourth play of the game. On Conway Spring’s second offensive series, Brill’s 38-yard run set up a Matt Seiwert 6-yard touchdown run. Brill finished with 21 carries for 180 yards
“We were very fired up for this game. If you can’t get up for this one then something is wrong with you,” Brill said. “We started the game off great, everyone was
running hard and the offensive line was firing off the ball.”
Garden Plain could only lament the pair of blown scoring opportunities inside the Conway Springs’ 10-yard line that ended with turnovers on downs, one at the 5 and the other at the 6 after a false-start penalty on the 1.
“We know what we have to do and that’s work on executing close to the goal,” Garden Plain coach Todd Puetz said. “I’m proud how my team came back, but not taking advantage of those chances in the first half really hurt us.”
Garden Plain (6-1, 0-1) 0 0 6 7 — 13
Conway Springs (7-0, 1-0) 7 6 6 0 — 19
CS—Brill 39 run (Jacob Schulte kick)
CS—Seiwert 6 run (kick fail)
CS—Brill 27 run (kick fail)
GP—Withrow 21 pass from Tomlinson (pass fail)
GP—Tomlinson 2 run (Alex May kick)
Rushing—Garden Plain, Klausmeyer 13-56, Capul 5-33, Youngers 8-23, Bugner 3-7, Thimmesch 3-7, Tomlinson 1-2, Pauly 1-(minus 5). Conway Springs, Brill 21-180, Doffing 11-44, Seiwert 7-23, Misak 4-11, Pauly 2-9.
Passing—Garden Plain, Tomlinson 7-12-167-1, Bugner 2-4-41-0, Washabaugh 0-1-0-0.
Receiving—Garden Plain, Withrow 4-114, Klausmeyer 2-64, Kerschen 1-12, Becker 2-18. Conway Springs, Davis 1-7.