EVANSVILLE — Matt Davis completed his only pass of the game to John O’Donnell setting up a touchdown and securing Lakeside Lutheran’s victory in a WIAA Division 4 Level 2 playoff game on Nov. 1.
O’Donnell had the ball fall into his hands as an outside linebacker to deal the fateful blow to Evansville’s chances for a comeback.
Evansville took over on its own 30-yard line trailing Lakeside Lutheran by eight points with 1 minute, 25 seconds remaining. After an incompletion on first down, Evansville quarterback Tyr Severson found senior receiver Jaden O’Bel for 35 yards.
The glimmer of hope didn’t last long as on the next play, Severson half-rolled to his left and threw a pass up the sideline that was deflected by a Lakeside defensive back and caught by O’Donnell. The Warriors kneeled twice and earned a 14-6 victory and trip to the D4 quarterfinals.
The catch by O’Donnell on the offensive side of the ball went for 16 yards on a third-and-11 from the 21-yard line. Davis plunged in for a touchdown three plays later with 1:32 to play in the fourth quarter.
Junior Ian Olszewski gave Lakeside (7-4) the lead with 10:40 to play in the second quarter against Evansville (9-2) when he carried the ball 28 yards to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead. Olszewski took the hand off from quarterback Matt Davis and cut it back against the grain after breaking a tackle at the second level.
“It was designed to be bounced out to the other side, but I saw that there wasn’t anyone to the right side,” Olszewski said. “I tried to cut it up and there was no one there, so I tried to turn on the jets as fast as I could. …
“It was tough to run and it got worse. Coach (Paul) Bauer always says the weather is always in our favor.”
Lakeside didn’t turn the ball over, while Severson threw two interceptions, including one to Tersony Vater with less than a minute to play in the second quarter on the 1-yard line.
The Warriors relied on Davis to push the ball up field throughout the second half as the muddy conditions limited the offensive creativity. Davis carried the ball 26 times for 103 yards with a long of 14 yards.
“Passing has been a big strength for us, but we hardly could do a thing (passing) tonight,” Bauer said. “We were trying to figure out what plays we could run because we couldn’t cut and we couldn’t pitch. It wasn’t an option play, it was just a lead back blocking the read key and getting up field.”
Similarly, Evansville had its passing attack grounded. The Blue Devils ran the ball nine plays in a row to open the third quarter before Severson completed a 13-yard pass to Seth Maag on a fourth-and-2. Two runs later, Severson completed a seven-yard pass to Maag on a third-and-8 from the Lakeside Lutheran 18-yard line.
Severson pushed forward in a quarterback sneak on the ensuing fourth-and-1 and rode the momentum into the end zone to make the score 7-6 with 4:42 remaining in the third quarter. The Blue Devils failed to pick up the 2-point conversion and didn’t return to the end zone again.
“The conditions, there’s no excuses, we don’t have any,” Grovesteen said. “(Lakeside) moves on and we’ll have to watch now.”
The Warriors will continue their season this Friday against second-seeded River Valley (10-1) on Friday Lakeside defeated River Valley 23-13 in Level 2 play last season. Kickoff at River Valley High School is 7 p.m.
“They were the toughest team we faced last year until we lost to Racine St. Catherine’s,” Bauer said. “We were behind at half and we knew they were a junior-heavy team, so we know it’s going to be a tough one. They’re a good team.”
LAKESIDE LUTHERAN 14, EVANSVILLE 6
Lakeside Lutheran 0 7 0 7 — 14
Evansville 0 0 6 0 — 6
Lakeside Lutheran — Olszewski 28 run (Vater kick)
Evansville — Severson 11 run (pass failed)
Lakeside Lutheran — Davis 1 run (Vater kick)
First downs — LL 14, E 8. Rushing — LL 44-201, E 23-73. Passing yards — LL 17, E 58. Passing — LL 8-1-0, E 18-8-2. Fumbles-lost — LL 0-0, E 1-0. Penalties-yards — LL 6-30, E 2-30.