CEDAR FALLS — This was the kind of game that gave each team’s defensive coordinator a massive headache, each team’s offensive players massive egos and each team’s stat keepers writer’s cramp.
Cedar Falls completed a perfect regular season Friday night with a 56-42 win over Cedar Rapids Prairie in a prep football game that put the shoot in shootout.
The Class 4A second-ranked Tigers (9-0) assured themselves an opportunity to play every playoff game right here in the comfortable and controlled environs of the UNI-Dome. Tenth-rated Prairie (6-3) also is in but will now have to travel for its first-round game next week.
OK, everyone. Let’s sit back and take a collective deep breath before talking anymore about this score-athon.
“Very proud of our kids’ efforts,” said Prairie Coach Mark Bliss. “We just didn’t get a break here and there. We got a couple, then we didn’t get some, you know what I mean? On some key downs and field-position wise. Just one of those things. Our kids were resilient, they battled their tails off. Cedar Falls is a good football team. But maybe at some point, we’ll find a way to get back in here. We’ll see.”
The teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense: Prairie with 536 and Cedar Falls with 520.
CF running back Ryan Ostrich had 221 yards rushing and five total touchdowns: four rushing and one receiving. Quarterback Cael Loecher completed 11 of 13 passes for 303 yards and four TDs.
“It’s what you dream, but it’s also not the best,” Loecher said. “I (didn’t like) watching our defense out there for a long time, but when you are scoring the ball like that, it’s a lot of fun. Running down the field and into the end zone, what eight times in one game? That’s pretty fun for the offense.”
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Tariq Amir and Nick Pearson combined to rush for 327 yards and three scores for Prairie. Amir had 174 yards and Pearson 153.
Quarterback Hunter Williams threw a 12-yard TD pass to Gabe Burkle to make it a 49-42 game with 2:30 left. Prairie’s only chance was to recover an onside kick, but CF recovered near midfield.
Ostrich ran for a 56-yard score two plays later for the final margin.
“We always have tough battles with Prairie,” said Cedar Falls Coach Brad Remmert. “They put pressure on you, but our kids responded. I thought we could put some points on the board. I didn’t know about 56.”
This was simply big play after big play. Outside of a pair of 1-yard runs (one by each team), the touchdowns came on plays of 21, 22, 23, 26, 56, 60, 66 (two), 73, 75 and 77 yards.
It was a 28-21 game at halftime, with Prairie scoring on the final play via a double pass, with Colton Forslund taking a back pass from Williams, then hitting Johnny Joens for a 26-yard TD. Just that kind of night.
The teams combined for 600 first-half yards on the dot: 330 for Prairie and 270 for Cedar Falls.
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