Rebels open playoffs with a win

Published 12:18 am Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Southland defense gangs up on the United South Central's Tyler Lackey during the fourth quarter of their Section 2A playoff game Tuesday night in Adams. - Matt Peterson/

ADAMS — Solid defense and a steady offensive attack carried the Southland Rebels past the No. 6 seeded United South Central Rebels 33-7 in a Section 2AA first round playoff game in Adams Tuesday.

“I expected our offense to get back on track after last week’s struggle against Caledonia,” Southland assistant coach Greg Schulte said.

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Both sides came out strong on defense throughout the first quarter. No. 3 seeded Southland (7-2 overall) was driving when USC’s Dustin Dylla picked off Sam Noterman, but Southland recovered a fumble the very next play. However, Southland missed a 25-yard field goal with 5:54 in the first. It battled back by forcing USC to punt on a short possession.

There was no score entering the second quarter, but Southland changed that quickly when defensive tackle Cody Peterson blocked a punt and recovered on the 13-yard line of USC. Several plays later, Southland’s Nick Schmitz ran outside for a four-yard touchdown with 10:07 in the second quarter.

Southland’s defense continued to force USC to punt and scored on an 80-yard run by Mike Goergen directly after forcing a three-and-out.

Goergen led receiving with 123 yards and a touchdown, and he also led rushing with 165 yards and a touchdown. Southland finished with 218 yards on the ground.

“Our speed is really something that we’re starting to trust and believe in,” Schulte said.

Several minutes after forcing another three-and-out, Southland moved quickly with a 32-yard receiving play by Alan May, followed by a six-yard touchdown run by Schmitz with 1:21 left in the second. At the end of the half Southland led 20-0.

“Offense and defense, it was clicking tonight because we felt like our unit was all-in-one,” Schulte said.

Shortly into the third, Noterman threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Goergen to make it 27-0 and USC turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing series. Then Southland’s Grant Hegge took a reception 59-yards downfield, but dual facemasks offset the play. Southland fumbled, recovered and punted.

After another three-and-out, USC got the ball back and moved closer courtesy of two Southland penalties. Kyle Bauman, USC wide receiver, snagged a 6-yard pass in the endzone to get USC on the board as time expired in the third.

USC opened the fourth with a failed onside kick. However, they were able to get the ball back when linebacker Blake Mutschler picked off Noterman. Still, Southland held strong as May picked off USC shortly after and took it 55 yards for what would be the final score. Schulte said he was very ecstatic about how the defense handled USC.

With a large lead, Southland continued to blitz and make effective gang tackles, eating up the clock and forcing USC to burn timeouts.

Noterman, who got injured in last week’s game, played effectively by converting 11 out of 22 passes for 175 yards.

Southland will play at No. 2 Triton Saturday at 7 p.m.