Prep Football

No. 1 Waukon pulls away from West Liberty late in Class 2A football quarterfinals

Indians force 5 second-half turnovers, return to the Dome for the third straight year

WAUKON — Dawson Baures’ bare arms shook as he spoke. His teeth chattered.

Don’t worry, kid. Conditions will be a whole lot better next week.

You’re headed back to the UNI-Dome.

Top-ranked Waukon took advantage of five second-half takeaways and pulled away from West Liberty, 32-12, in a Class 2A football quarterfinal Friday night at the Richard Hermeier Sports Complex.

“Circumstances weren’t great out here, but you just have to hold onto the ball,” said Baures, who ran for a pair of touchdowns and made a spectacular one-handed interception. “We were able to capitalize.”

The Indians (11-0) advance to the UNI-Dome for the third consecutive year (they were 2A champions in 2017, semifinalists last year). They’ll face Williamsburg (8-3) in a semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.

Williamsburg upset No. 2 Clear Lake, 35-21, Friday.

It will be 72 degrees in the UNI-Dome, about 50 degrees warmer than it felt here.

“The field was really slick, and it was windy,” Waukon’s Lincoln Snitker said. “It wasn’t prime conditions. We just had the mindset that we needed to embrace it.”

With the game tied, 12-12, Snitker got loose on a wildcat counter, sprinting away for a 49-yard touchdown with 4:07 left in the third quarter that turned out to put the Indians ahead for good.

West Liberty (7-4) appeared poised to answer, driving to the Waukon 6-yard line late in the third quarter, but the Comets fumbled and Snitker recovered.

Baures and Snitker tacked on scoring runs of 19 and 12 yards in the final three minutes, and the final score was much more one-sided than the game was.

After the Comets received their quarterfinalist trophy, the Indians huddled.

A voice rang out:

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“We’ve got to get better! This isn’t going to cut it if we want to win it all!”

West Liberty took a surprising 12-6 lead late in the first quarter. After Jahsiah Galvin scored on a 31-yard run, the Comets onside-kicked and recovered. Will Esmoil won a footrace on the next play, a 50-yard TD run.

“They weren’t intimidated,” Waukon Coach Chad Beermann said. “Our kids had to dig deep.”

Baures rushed for 134 yards and caught four passes for 41 yards.

Will Esmoil ran for 170 yards on 23 carries for the Comets.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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