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Boone Central/Newman Grove hopes of a state football playoff run were dampened, literally, Friday night at Wilber.
On a night of steady rainfall, which increased in intensity during the second half, undefeated host Wilber-Clatonia slipped and slid to just enough success to score a 9-6 victory over the defending Class C1 state champion Cardinals.
With the soggy turf, slippery footing and footballs, and an inspired opponent, it turned into a night of frustration for Boone Central/Newman Grove and first-year head coach Mark Hudson.
Wilber-Clatonia (10-0) used the game’s first touchdown, on the initial play of the second quarter, and a third-period safety to put its nine points on the board. Meanwhile, BC/NG (7-3) could never get untracked offensively after averaging 40 points per game during the 2015 season.
“It turned into old-time, slug-out football,” Hudson told media following the contest. “Not much give in either team, and nobody could really put together a drive once it got really sloppy on the field.
“Wilber-Clatonia is tough in the middle and we couldn’t run to the outside because nobody could make a cut. And, our passing game was the thing we had to give up because of the rain.”
That didn’t leave many options, as the Cardinals were limited to a season-low 92 yards in just 38 plays.
“Wilber played very physical football and their game plan was to stop the running game,” Hudson noted. “There were several opportunities in the running game we missed by one block, one read, etc. We felt we were close to ‘popping one’ all night.
“Going into the game, we felt we could have some success throwing the football. Normally, when a team has loaded the box, we get the ball to our receivers. The weather, an injury, and Wilber’s execution made that more difficult than normal.
“It was frustrating to say the least.”
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