Rushford-Peterson got on the scoreboard in the first quarter and maintained that lead until the final minute of the first half. The Falcons tied the game at 7-7 with :36.7 seconds left in the first half, and really looked like they were going into the intermission with a tie.

The score-tying drive (5 plays, 64 yards, 1:22) was set up by a Logan Masters interception, followed by four completed passes by quarterback Brandon Breitsprecher and a run by Dan Gatzke. The touchdown was a 30-yard pass from Breitsprecher to Andy Coyle. Coyle also had a 21-yard reception to get the "drive" going. Unfortunately for the Falcons, R-P put together a series of plays in the waning seconds of the second quarter, and took a 14-7 lead with just two (:02) seconds left on the clock.

"That touchdown before the half ended was a tough one," said coach Chris Mensink. "After scoring and with that amount of time remaining (:36.7)...we had our heads down after that one for a little while," added Mensink.

Disheartened, but surely not giving up, Fillmore Central just couldn't get anything going in the second half. The Falcons first four possessions resulted in punts and the fifth possession was an R-P interception. Meanwhile, the Trojans scored another touchdown and increased their lead to 21-7.

Fillmore Central got the ball back one last time, but that too resulted in a turnover (INT). R-P then ran out the clock, taking the 21-7 win into the next round of the Section 1A playoffs against Bethlehem Academy.

Leading the way on the ground was junior fullback Tom Henry. Henry had 11 carries in the game, picking up a net 68 yards. None of his carries resulted in negative yards. Senior running back Dan Gatzke was limited to 18 yards on 13 carries. Logan Masters had two carries for -1 yards and McKinnen Stone netted -4 yards on his one carry. Quarterback Brandon Breitsprecher had four carries, was sacked three times and ended the game with a -21 yards.

In the passing department, Breitsprecher was 10/23, 104 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Making the catches were Logan Masters (2/1 yd), Dan Gatzke (1/6 yds), Devon Block (2/23 yds) and Andrew Coyle (5/74 yds, 1 TD).

Devon Block had a team high four solo(s) tackles, along with four assists(a). Tom Henry had two solos (1 sack) and 13 assists...others: Logan Masters (3s), Dan Gatzke (2s, 10a),McKinnen Stone (2s, 4a), Andrew Coyle (2s, 2a), Nick Ebner (1s, 7a), Andy Love (1s, 5a, sack), Jake Ristau (4a), Chris Collett (1s, 1a), solo tackles for Brandon Breitsprecher and Clay Fishbaugher and assists for Ascher Ostrom, Jake Tammel and Dylan Birch. Logan Masters and Devon Block had pass interceptions for the defensive unit.

Working the special teams were Masters, Stone, Block, Coyle and Collin Bennett.

Team stats vs. Rushford-Peterson...


First downs 8 10

Rushing 31 c, 62 yds 35 c, 100 yds

1 fumble lost 1 TD

Passing 10/23, 104 yds 11/21, 176 yds

1 TD, 3 INT 2 TD, 2 INT

Total Off. 54 p, 166 y 56 p, 276 y

Penalties 6, 41 yds 10, 85 yds

Turnovers 4 2

With the loss, Fillmore Central finished the season with two wins and seven losses. The Falcons were 1-4 in TRC-South play, 1-2 in non-conference games and 0-1 in the playoffs. And that also ends the Three Rivers Conference for football, at least for the next two years. The Falcons will join Caledonia, Chatfield, Goodhue, Hayfield, Kingsland, Rushford-Peterson, Southland, and Wabasha-Kellogg in the Blue Division of the Southern Football Alliance (SFA).

The newly formed SFA is composed of all the teams in the Three Rivers Conference and the Hiawatha Valley League, divided into three divisions; Red, White and Blue. The Red Division will consist of Byron, Cannon Falls, K-M, La Crescent, Lake City, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Lourdes and Stewartville. Members of the White Division are Cotter, Dover-Eyota, Kenyon-Wanamingo, Lewiston-Altura, Pine Island, St. Charles, Triton and Zumbrota-Mazeppa.

The round-robin schedule for the Blue Division will have everybody playing everybody during the season, with each team having a "bye week." Games will start during "zero week," with Fillmore Central having the bye the first week of the season.

Next week we'll have a wrap-up of the team stats. Congratulations to the team on their hard work during the season.