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Falcon football season ends with heartbreaker

November 20, 2008

As the game-ending extra point sailed through the uprights, the clock read all zeros and the 2008 Falcon football season came to an end with a disappointing loss.

In the battle of two underachieving WIAC teams, the UW-River Falls Falcons lost 13-12 as they played host to the UW-Oshkosh Titans on Nov. 15 at Ramer Field. In a back and forth, hard fought contest, the Titans were able to defeat the Falcons on a 2-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the game.

The last second defeat to the Titans ended the Falcon season with a 3-7 overall record.

Placekicker Jesse Finer described the Falcons as having a hard time finishing the games.

“The 2008 football season has been a huge disappointment. Our biggest problem all year was finishing … finishing blocks, finishing tackles, finishing plays, but most of all, and most obvious to anyone watching, was our problem finishing games,” Finer said.

The Falcons stumbled right out of the gate at the beginning of the 2008 season, losing their first two games to St. Johns and Northwestern College. After the 0-2 start, UWRF was able to bounce back with close wins against Alma College and the homecoming victory against UW-Stevens Point.

Heading into week five of the season, the Falcons were 2-2 and hosting WIAC favorite UW-Whitewater. After a competitive first half, the second half was anything but, and Whitewater was able to exploit the young Falcon defense for 28 second-half points.

The tide shifted and the Falcons were only able to pull off one victory in their final five games, but after a season filled with many disappointments, there were a few bright spots in the 2008 season.

Falcons head coach John O’Grady won his 100th career victory after the Falcons defeated Stevens Point at the Homecoming game.

According to the Oct. 9 Falcon audio files, O’Grady said that it was a wonderful feeling to win his 100th game, but he was more excited for his players.

“The thing that makes me most happy was to see our present players, that have been working very hard, to see them feel as good about themselves after the game, that’s what’s really meaningful.” O’Grady said.

Now at 101 wins, O’Grady ranks second in all-time football wins among active WIAC coaches, and he is currently ranked seventh in all-time wins of all WIAC coaches.

Playing in his final game as a Falcon, quarterback Storm Harmon completed 12 of 18 passes for 120 yards and ran for a touchdown. Harmon ends his successful collegiate career with many of UWRF’s top quarterback records such as most yards in a game (340), and most completed passes in a game (34).

This past season Harmon broke the University’s all-time record for career pass completions at 381. 

Along with Harmon, Finer faces the tough transition to life without football.

“As a graduating senior, I’ll miss the team oriented atmosphere the most. Not being around 99 other guys working hard to achieve one goal will be hard to get used to. I’ll also have to get used to the idea of working for myself,” Finer said.

Finer said he also believes in the future of the program.

“We have had very talented recruiting classes the past few years and it will start to show next year. Our defense this year featured two freshman that will be mainstays here for the next three years, and there are many more younger guys waiting to prove what they’ve got.”