The losing streak has ended. After four straight losses to begin the season, the Waconia football team picked up its first victory of 2012 last Friday, Sept. 28 at Mound-Westonka.
In front of what Waconia head coach Pat Foley called a “phenomenal crowd” that had gathered for the White Hawks’ homecoming game, the Wildcats fought hard to grab a 35-19 victory.
“We made big plays on both sides of the ball,” Foley said, and credited the Waconia defense for setting up many of the Wildcats’ scoring opportunities.
The White Hawks scored first, but Waconia senior Mitch Green blocked the extra point attempt.
“It made a big difference down the road,” Foley said.
After senior Riley Trnka picked up a Mound-Westonka fumble, senior quarterback Cody Clark dove for a one-yard rushing touchdown to put the Wildcats up 7-6. Waconia clung to that lead deep into the second quarter, until Mattson grabbed an interception.
With 33 seconds remaining in the half, Waconia had the ball on the White Hawks’ 26-yard line, and then passed down to the 18. With only 3.6 seconds remaining in the half, the Wildcats utilized what Foley called the “hitch and pitch.” Clark tossed the ball to junior Tommy Gove, who tossed the ball to Mattson to score the touchdown. Senior kicker Ben Kullman completed his second extra point attempt of the game to put the Wildcats up 14-6 at halftime.
That touchdown in the final seconds of the first half is what made the game for Waconia, Foley said.
“That was a big momentum swing for us,” he said.
In the third quarter, the White Hawks moved the ball significantly. When Waconia fumbled on the Mound-Westonka 35-yard line, the White Hawks picked it up and returned it for a touchdown. They attempted a safety, which was thwarted by the Waconia defense, and Waconia held on to a narrow 14-12 lead at the end of the third.
Mattson picked up a fumble recovery near the beginning of the fourth quarter, and at the end of the drive, Gove would score on a three-yard run to put Waconia up 21-12, with the help of Kullman’s extra point.
“This is why chasing the extra point is so important,” Foley said, because the White Hawks had to score more than once to catch Waconia.
The White Hawks scored a few plays later on a 62-yard pass. The extra point was good to bring Mound-Westonka within three. On the kickoff, Mattson, whom Foley called Waconia’s “man of the hour,” ran the ball back 88 yards for a touchdown to make it a 28-19 game. With three minutes to go, Mattson picked off his second interception of the game, and the Wildcats drove down to the one-yard line, before senior Jacob Fettig dove in for Waconia’s final touchdown.
For the game, the Wildcats scored five touchdowns on 233 offensive yards (100 rushing, 133 passing). Clark completed 13 of 18 passes for 133 yards and one touchdown. Clark also rushed a touchdown. Fettig led the Wildcat rushers with 70 yards and one touchdown. Gove was second with 30 yards and one touchdown. Gove led the Waconia receivers with six receptions for 75 yards. Senior Wylie Ferron (26 yards) and junior Tyler Myrvold (14 yards) also had long receptions. Mattson had two receptions for four yards and one touchdown. Kullman was 5-5 in extra point attempts.
Defensively, the Wildcats snagged three interceptions, two by Mattson and the other by junior Matt Gorres. Gorres also had a sack on Mound-Westonka, as did Green. Mattson and senior Riley Trnka were each credited with a fumble recovery, and Green blocked the extra point.
The Wildcats will host Holy Family this Friday, Oct. 5 for Waconia’s homecoming. The Wildcats haven’t won homecoming since 2009. Holy Family fell to Hutchinson 60-7 last week. The Fire are 2-3 this season after losing their last two.