WEBSTER—“The defense is the big emphasis whenever you get a muddy field like this; the defense has got to go,” said Tiger coach Andy Smith following his Tigers 24-16 win over the Lake Holcombe-Cornell Knights on Friday night.
Webster’s defense held the Knights scoreless in the second half and the Tiger offense used one score to break a 16-16 tie for the win.
“When you have a 6-1 Lakeland Conference football team come in, and they are a second half team and then you hold them to no score, that’s something,” praised Coach Smith.
On Webster’s second offensive possession, the Tigers started on their own 35. They worked their way downfield, mixing a pass or two with the run to get it to the Knights 14. From there, quarterback Trevor Gustafson weaved his way through the defense for the first touchdown of the game. He also crossed the line for the two point conversion, Webster 8, Lake Holcombe-Cornell 0.
LH/C fumbled on their next possession with the Tigers recovering the ball on the Knights 20.
With less than two minutes gone into the second quarter, Gustafson found Brad Sigfrids open and Sigfrids caught the pass for a 10-yard score. Gustafson once again crossed the line for the two point conversion and Webster was up 16-0.
Both teams failed to move the ball on their next possessions.
After the Tigers had punted the ball back to the Knights, LH/C scored on a 36-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion was good and the Knights had cut the deficit in half, 16-8.
With a little over a minute left in the half, Lake Holcombe/Cornell scored on a nine-yard TD run. The two-point conversion was good and the score was tied at 16, which was carried to halftime.
On the Knights’ first possession of the second half, Xavier Stanton intercepted a LH/C pass and gave the Tigers the ball at midfield. However, the Tigers couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity, punting the ball back to the Knights.
The defenses for both teams held strong through the remainder of the third period with Webster having possession at their own 34 when quarter four began.
The Tigers were forced to punt, and subsequently so did the Knights with Webster regaining possession on the 50. On the fourth play from scrimmage, with the ball on the LH/C 5, Gustafson ran it across for the score. He also did the conversion and Webster now led 24-16 with 4:33 left in the game.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Knights started at their 40. Two consecutive tackles for losses pushed LH/C back to their own 15.
On the attempt to punt, the snap was poor, the punter mishandled the slippery ball and in his successful attempt to recover the ball, his knee touched the ground, ending the play. Webster took over on the Knight 9 yard line.
A sack by the Knight defense, a short gain by the Tigers, and a penalty on the Tigers caused Webster to attempt a pass play, but Lake Holcombe/Cornell intercepted the pass and the Knights started from their 20.
The Tiger defense held, Webster took over on offense, and ran out the clock for the win.
“I have nothing but respect for the Lake Holcombe-Cornell coaching staff,” said Coach Smith. “They are a class act team.”
Regarding his own program, Coach Smith stated, “ This is the second time in recent years that we’re looking at the playoffs, so that’s something we can build on. We’re going to get back to work on Sunday and keep cracking. I’m very proud of these guys.”
The Tigers host St. Croix Falls on Friday at 7 p.m.