BRANDON — Brandon Valley brought out the long pass play Thursday night, and it paid quick dividends as the Lynx cashed in on a 28-14 win against Lincoln in the 11AAA quarterfinals.
The Lynx struck on their first possession and three plays into the series Lynx QB Alex Waltner dropped a 68-yard pass play into the hands of Chase Grode who took it the distance.
“At the end of the last time we played them we thought that we didn’t take advantage of getting Chase one-on-one and letting him go, and we did that this week,” Lynx head coach Chad Garrow said. “We put that into the game plan where we would try to get him man coverage and let him run, and Alex threw an amazing beautiful pass right away to get that touchdown.”
After stopping Lincoln on both of its offensive series in the first quarter, on a third and one at the 40, Waltner delivered a gutsy 60-yard scoring strike, this time to Spencer Grage. Drew Jurgens nailed both extra-point kicks to give the Lynx the 14-0 advantage with 1:54 to play in the first.
“On the third and one call, we actually practiced that play one time and that was yesterday,” Garrow said. “It was just the right time to call that. I told the guys that it would be a one-time shot because it will never work again because everybody has it scouted now, so you’ve got to make it pay and he ran right by them and nobody was around him.”
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Lincoln took advantage of the short field given to them midway through the second quarter on a Lynx dropped punt at the 30. Seven plays later, Patriot quarterback Cole DeBerg punched it in from two yards out to make it a 14-7 game with 6:37 to play in the half.
Brandon Valley padded its lead late in the third quarter on a three-yard run by Waltner to give the Lynx a 21-7 cushion.
But Lincoln wouldn’t go away. On the Patriots’ next possession, DeBerg connected with Lee Ransom on a 12-yard pass play to make it a 21-14 game with 7:06 to go.
Brandon Valley solidified the win on a Tyler Hintz 1-yard scamper with 2:23 to go in the game.
Waltner completed 5 of 10 passes for 190 yards and two TDS. Grage and Grode were two of his main targets, with Grage catching two for 69 yards and a TD, and Grode latching onto one for 68 yards and a TD.
On the ground, the Lynx picked up 225 yards in 45 rushes. Lincoln generated 72 yards in its 25 rushes.
DeBerg completed 10 of 23 for 118 yards and a score.
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Isaiah Blok and Andrew Sorensen both had four tackles for the Lynx. Payton Sudenga had 10 tackles and Mato Standing Soldier had eight.
Lincoln head coach Aaron Beavers said Brandon was the better team Thursday night.
“We gave up two big plays right away and then we’re down 14-0. It was physical just like the first time but they did a better job up front defensively and kind of hurt us on the run a little bit,” he said. “They hit the receivers and we didn’t, and that’s football. I don’t doubt my kids’ efforts, it was just two really equal teams and they were the better team tonight.”
The fourth-seeded Lynx move on the semifinals to face No. 1 Washington, a team they lost 31-7 in the first week of the season. That game will be played at 4 p.m. on Nov. 6 at Howard Wood Field.
“I’m so proud of these kids and they have a chance now – as we talked before the game –to take out Lincoln, and then a chance to take out Washington. That’s our goal, Garrow said. “We haven’t seen them since the first game. I thought we hurt ourselves with turnovers there, and again I think that will be huge – turnovers and field position will be a big part of it.”