Austin is stalled by the Raiders in playoff loss

Published 1:09 am Sunday, November 1, 2009

NORTHFIELD — Northfield took away Austin’s comfort zone and they took away its football season with a 29-8 victory over the Packers in the Section 1AAAA semifinals at Memorial Field Saturday night.

The top-seeded Raiders (7-2 overall) held Austin senior running back to Jerrad Ryks to just 24 yards as they filled the running lanes all night.

“I don’t think it was (Jerrad’s) fault, we’ve got to get our passing game going,” Austin wide receiver Jamaal Gibson said. “Our game revolves around Jerrad and if they stop him we’ve got to do other things right and we didn’t do that tonight.”

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The run defense of Northfield made its biggest impact early in the second half. The fifth-seeded Packers (4-6 overall) trailed 13-0 but they received a major break when Northfield’s punter Alex Bisch was tackled for a 16-yard loss after a bad snap.

Ryks busted off a seven-yard run and a two-yard run to the Northfield 15-yard line, but he was stuffed on his next two carries.

“We couldn’t get two inches on fourth down and instead of 13-7, it’s 13-0 and they come back and score,” Austin head coach Tim Hermann said. “We just didn’t get the push we needed to open up some running lanes for Jerrad tonight.”

While the offense struggled, the Austin defense played solid in spots. Senior defensive end Michael Hirsch racked up three sacks and two and a half tackles for a loss as the defenders kept Austin in the game in the first half, while the offense managed just two first downs.

“Our defensive line and linebackers played pretty well tonight,” Hermann said.

Austin had a breakdown in the first quarter after Hirsch snuffed out a half-back option on third and 18 for Northfield. On the ensuing punt, Aaron Dooley couldn’t hang on and Northfield took over at the Austin nine-yard line and scored to make it 7-0.

“That really hurt us,” Hermann said. “We had a big stop and then we drop it. Those kind of things can’t happen in big games.”

On the bright side of the loss, the Packers got Gibson on the field, who had missed the last five weeks with a broken hand. He risked missing nine more weeks if he got hit the wrong way on Saturday, but Gibson came away just fine.

“I love football and I took that chance,” he said.

Gibson, a senior, produced Austin’s only touchdown of the night when he pulled in a 58-yard score from T.J. Fritz on third and nine to make it 21-8 with 10:29 left in the game. Gibson went in motion and then shook the defense on a corner route.

“It was exhausting,” he said of the play. “I knew it would be open and T.J. knew it would be open. It was a perfect throw and I used everything I had in the tank. I guess I should’ve ran a little more when I was hurt.”

Gibson is one of the many seniors the Packers will miss next season.

“That was one of the better groups that stayed around and got a lot things done,” Hermann said. “We would’ve liked to have more wins, but it was a great five months and there wouldn’t be anybody else I would want to be around for five months.”

Gibson felt that if the Packers had another shot at the Raiders, it might be a different story.

“They’re defense wasn’t doing anything we haven’t seen all year,” he said. “They weren’t that good and I still believe we’re a better team. If we had another shot, I think we’d beat them, but we just couldn’t execute and everyone couldn’t go at the same time.”

Northfield will host No. 2 New Prague (8-2 overall) Friday at 7 p.m. for the Section 1AAAA title. The Trojans beat Faribault 15-14 Saturday.

Austin stats

Rushing: Jerrad Ryks, 11-for-24; Jamaal Gibson, 1-for-5; T.J. Fritz, 7-for-(-22); Passing: Fritz, 12-for-22, 143, TD, INT; Receiving: Gibson, 3-for-69, TD; Jay Ettinger, 2-for-42; Bob Astrup, 4-for-21; Quinn Yocom, 1-for-7; Ryks, 2-for-2; Sacks: Michael Hirsch (3), Mitch Morem, Andrew Wagnen; Penalties: 4-for-40

Northfield stats

Rushing: Tristin Faust, 17-for-78; Davonte Jacobs, 15-for-62, 2 TD; Luke Reppe, 5-for-19; Josh Corbin, 1-for-3; Meland Jackson, 1-for-(-2); Logan Canedy, 1-for-(-7); Jordan Bardwell, 10-for-(-16); Alex Bisch, 1-for-(-16); Passing: Bardwell, 9-for-12, 133, TD; Jacobs, 1-for-1, 25, TD; Receiving: Bisch, 3-for-78; Scott Snesrud, 3-for-51, TD; Faust, 1-for-16; Jordan Freeman, 3-for-13; Interceptions: Ben Truax; Penalties: 6-for-40


Austin 0 0 0 8 — 8

Northfield 7 6 8 7 — 29

First quarter

(N) 3:55 Davonte Jacobs 9 run (Wes Kramer kick) (1 play, 9 yards)

Second quarter

(N) 1:02 Tristin Faust 1 run (Kramer kick failed) (5 plays, 68 yards)

Third quarter

(N) :13.8 Jacobs 5 run (Bardwell pass to Bisch) (13 plays, 85 yards)

Fourth quarter

(A) 10:29 Jamaal Gibson 58 pass from T.J. Fritz (Ryks run) (5 plays, 68 yards)

(N) Scott Snesrud 25 pass from Jacobs (Jacobs run ) (5 plays, 52 yards)