BALSAM LAKE – The first quarter could have led to misconceptions.
With the Webster and Unity football teams combining for three touchdowns in the first 12 minutes of Friday’s game, three more quarters of high scoring may have been assumed. However, the rest of the game couldn’t have been more different.
Neither team was able to add points to their total and therefore the Tigers were unable to snag a comeback win. The Eagles’ pair of touchdowns and 2-point conversions were enough to give Webster its first loss of the season, 16-6.
“We wanted to control the clock and limit possessions because of how explosive (Unity) could be,” Webster coach Andy Smith said. “Each team has a good defense and made big plays to stop drives in the second half.”
Those defenses were effective in each quarter but the first.
The Eagles were able to get a two-score lead less than five minutes in, by relying on the run game.
They got on the board with their opening possession, which was quick. Heath Foeller broke loose for a 67-yard touchdown run and Adam Weihe followed with a 2-point conversion run to give Unity an 8-0 lead.
Unity’s defense also capitalized on Webster’s quarterback situation since original starter Austin Sigfrids out of the Webster lineup.
“We are working on running plays that will give us the best chance to win,” Smith said. “As the quarterback play gets more advanced, we should be able to get into more of our base offense each week.”
The slightly-limited Tigers’ playbook didn’t produce an answering score with their first possession, which helped the Eagles go up by two scores less than four minutes into the game.
Unity scored on its following possession that ended with a 15-yard touchdown run from Jake Bloom, along with a 2-point conversion pass from Bloom to Andrew Krone, giving the Eagles a 16-0 lead. But the Tigers’ run game eventually came through to get them on the board.
“Unity is a physical team but our offensive line did a nice job of getting off the ball and our running backs ran hard, keeping us in the game,” Smith said.
In the final minutes of the first quarter, the Tigers capped a scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown run from Coleton Peterson. Though the following 2-point conversion was unsuccessful, Webster was on the board.
Unfortunately, a combination of the Unity defense and Webster miscues on offense, the Tigers were unable to close the gap.
“We knew that we couldn’t afford to turn the ball over or overcome drive-killing penalties,” Smith said.
Both defenses contained the other’s offense for the rest of the game, leading to modest yardage totals. Webster finished with just 181 yards of total offense, but held Unity to 212. The Tigers’ defense managed to force a turnover that Smith hoped would give his team momentum along with good field position.
“Tallon Parent had a big interception off a screen pass in the second half that gave us a chance,” he said.
But the ensuing drive was again halted by Unity prior to reaching the end zone.
“Our defense played a terrific game,” Unity coach Cory Nelson said. “I think (Webster) had the right game plan against us and they did a nice job of keeping it simple, making us work to stop them. Our defensive coaches made some great adjustments at halftime and we were able to get them into some 4th-and-longs in the second half to keep them out of the end zone.”
Nathan Stadler led the Tigers with 83 yards on 25 carries; Peterson had 64 yards on 18 carries for Webster. Parent had eight tackles for the defense; Jacob Guenard added seven while Tanner Peterson and Timothy Fornengo had six each.
Webster dropped to 3-1 on the season and hosts Turtle Lake this Friday.