For many teams, a postseason injury to a starting quarterback would mean curtains, for certain.
Instead of sinking, the Indians plugged on without Creed Welch last week. The reward is one more game.
A championship opportunity.
Fourth-ranked Waukon (9-1) plays in its third Class 2A final in the last four years — and its fourth since 2013 — when it faces No. 3 Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (11-0) Friday. Kickoff is 2 p.m. at the UNI-Dome.
“I’m really, really proud of the way the kids responded last week,” Waukon Coach Chad Beermann said.
The Indians were rolling offensively in the first half, leading No. 1 Monroe PCM 16-7 and on the march again when Welch, a three-year starter, went down with both knee and ankle injuries to his left leg.
“When he got tackled, his foot got pinned under the guy, then he got rolled on,” Beermann said. “It’s probably good that both the knee and ankle were impacted, instead of just one of them taking all of the impact.
“Creed wanted to come back in, but we thought we had things under control.”
Sean Cooper entered at quarterback and completed the drive with 11-yard touchdown pass to Avery Rocksvold, then Waukon relied on two fourth-quarter touchdowns by Ethan O’Neill and an inspired defensive effort to finish off the 38-21 victory.
The question now: Will Welch be ready for the championship game.
“We think he’ll be able to play,” Beermann said Wednesday. “He’s pretty sore, and he hasn’t practiced yet, but we don’t believe there’s any ligament damage. We’ll get a brace on him for extra support.”
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Under offensive coordinator Jed Hemann, the Indians’ multi-weapon attack has yielded 42.1 points and 377 yards (240 rushing, 137 passing) per game.
“(Beermann) has given me free reign to do what I’ve thought was best,” Hemann said. “He’s always sending me stuff to see if it might work for us.
“But the big thing is that we have good athletes. We’ve got a very good offensive line. They’re not overly big, but they are fast and physical.”
Welch has passed for 14 touchdowns and has rushed for 11. O’Neill ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns against PCM, upping his season totals to 1,098 yards and 19 TDs.
The receiving game is balanced, with four guys between 200 and 350 yards.
In CL-GLR, the Indians will be facing a team “that looks a lot like us,” Beermann said. “They’re pretty run-heavy, and a lot goes through their quarterback (Zach Lutmer). Their line isn’t huge, but their guys up front are really athletic.”
Waukon won the 2A championship in 2017 and was the runner-up in 2013 and 2019.
“Our general feeling was that we didn’t show up and give our best effort last year (a 37-12 loss to Ida Grove OABCIG),” Beermann said. “We had too many penalties and turnovers. We need to be sharp and focused (Friday).”
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