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Falcons fall to Whitewater in season finale

November 16, 2006

The UW-River Falls football team worked hard all season, including in the season finale against top conference competitor UW-Whitewater.

Although the Falcons lost 48-16 there were still positives to be taken from the season finale.

The Falcons knew going into the game that Whitewater   would prove to be stiff competition. Whitewater played for the national championship last year.

“Whitewater is a very good team,” senior Jeremy Wolff said. “We came out and left it all on the field. So that is all we could have asked for.”

In the first quarter, at 8:05 Whitewater kicker Jeff Schebler made a 39-yard field goal to give the visiting team a 3-0 lead. At 2:45 of the first quarter, sophomore Josh Grover and senior Jeremy Wolff connected for a 23-yard pass and Spasimir Bodurski’s extra point was good to give the Falcons a 7-3 lead.

Following Grover’s touchdown, it was all Whitewater for a while. Less than a minute after the UWRF touchdown, Matt Gifford caught a touchdown pass, giving Whitewater a 10-7 lead. At 13:35, Neil Mikuick’s 27-yard pass gave Whitewater a 17-7 lead. Jacobs picked up a 2-yard rushing touchdown.

To cap off Whitewater’s scoring in the first half, Jacob Miller ran into the end zone from the 1-yard line to extend the lead.

With only two seconds remaining in the first half, Bodurski’s 32-yard field goal brought the Falcons to within 21 points.

In the third quarter, Schebler picked up his second field goal of the day to extend the Whitewater lead to 34-10. About three minutes later, Gifford scored his second touchdown of the day to add another six points to Whitewater’s side.

In the fourth quarter, down 41-10, Grover and Wolff connected again on a 16-yard pass, but Wolff’s 2-point conversion attempt failed. The Falcons pulled were still down 41-16. Whitewater scored once more to bring the game to an end at 48-16.

“They were very good,” Andy Kolstad said of Whitewater. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it to the national championship.”

The loss gave the Falcons a season record of 3-7 overall and 2-5 in WIAC. The Falcons’ winning percentage was .500 at home, but they had difficulties on the road going 1-5.

“It didn’t go as well as we planned. It was hard to take,” Kolstad said. “We overcame a lot and were kind of disappointed. It was also hard to go out with a team as good as [Whitewater].”

There were positives in the season, although the team’s record wasn’t above .500. Both Kolstad and Wolff said the Homecoming victory was an important moment during the season. It was also a good win because it put the Falcons on a two-game winning streak following two losses.

This season, there were a number of changes in the Falcons’ offensive and defensive schemes.

“Confidence,” Kolstad said. “There was a lot of confidence between players and coaches.”

Kolstad will take more than football out of his experience.

“The best thing about this program is that we play hard,” Kolstad said. “And we do it for each other and the coaches.”

Wolff said that walking off the field and taking off his Falcon jersey was the hardest moment of the season.

“I learned a lot about myself being a part of this program,” Wolff said. “Being around this group of guys teaches you what it really means to work hard and have discipline and pride in what you are doing. I was part of a great class. This team went above and beyond everything our coaches and fans ever expected and we were a much better team than what our record ever showed.”

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