116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CASCADE - They've won a lot of baseball and basketball games here over the years. A lot of them.
Football kind of was that sport to pacify everyone around those seasons. But not anymore.
Haris Hoffman's 11-yard touchdown pass to Blake Simon with 28.1 seconds left lifted the Class 2A second-ranked Cougars past No. 7 LaPorte City Union, 28-21, in an exquisite regular-season finale Friday night.
Cascade (9-0) wins District 4 and takes some significant momentum into next week's playoffs. This is the first time in school history it has won nine regular-season games.
'I give all the credit to the kids,” said Cascade Coach Tim Frake. 'I came here 13 years ago, and I don't think the Cascade football program was anywhere close to being on the map. We've done a lot of good things. You go back to building it, and it takes time. You need a lot of kids to buy in and keep kids excited.
'When we first started, these kids were, what, kindergartners, pre-K? They saw what we were doing, and they stuck with us. We were able to get it done tonight. Pretty impressive.”
Union (6-3) rallied from a 20-7 hole with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Wide receiver Kody Alpers' 45-yard run out of the wildcat formation on a 4th-and-1 play, followed by Benjamin Dvorak's extra point put the Knights on top, 21-20, with 3:37 left.
'Our kids don't quit,” said Union Coach Joe Hadachek, whose team is on the proverbial bubble for an at-large 2A playoff berth. Qualifiers were supposed to be announced by the Iowa High School Athletic Association early Saturday morning.
'These kids don't back down from anybody,” Hadachek said. 'They played their tails off.”
Cascade's final possession began at its 36. Quarterback Hoffman (who had three touchdown passes and a touchdown run) was NFL like in his efficiency on the drive, scrambling out of danger for rushing yards, including a 19-yarder that took the ball to the Union 19.
The Cougars had 1st-and-goal from the 8 with under a minute to go. A short run and false-start penalty took them back to the 11.
After a timeout, Hoffman took a shotgun snap from center, faded ever so slightly to his right and connected with Simon on a post route. Hoffman's two-point run made it a seven-point game.
'They were playing man down by the goal line, so Coach knew if we ran an out, then a quick in, that quick in would be wide open,” said Hoffman, who had 217 combined yards rushing and passing. 'It worked.”
'It just came to which team makes the most plays, and we made enough,” Frake said.
Union cashed in the first possession of the game, driving 58 yards on 12 plays and 6:37, Alpers running it in from 4 yards out. Cascade's first possesion surpassed that longetivity, as the Cougars took 7:03 off the clock, marching 75 yards on 16 plays, Hoffman rolling right and hitting Blake Simon for a 4-yard TD on 4th-and-goal.
Cascade took a 14-7 lead at the break when Hoffman hit Johnny Supple with another 4-yard touchdown pass. The Cougars then went on the mother of all drives to begin the second half.
Hoffman took a read-option run 11 yards for the score and a 20-7 lead after the extra-point try hit the upright. That culminated a whopping 18-play, 61-yard drive that erased nearly the entire third quarter (10:04 overall).
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