8/24 7:15 H
2nd Round 3A Playoffs vs.Wilmington(9-2)
Defense Key in Reapers Win
Plano (Reaper Stadium) - For the second time this season Plano and Wilmington met up on the gridiron and while the fans may have been expecting another overtime thriller, the Reaper's defense had a different outcome in mind.
While both sides played four quarters of smash mouth football, in the end Plano's version won out the day.
The Reapers were in the Wildcat backfield on several plays, Jake Wilson had 2 sacks for Plano along with Javier Hernandez & Ben Quintero who record 1 a piece. Nick Nasti, Kevin Klingberg & Jacob Goldsmith were two of several Reapers who recorded 1 or more tackle for a loss on the evening & QB/DB Brook Bott helped seal the Plano victory when he intercepted Dillon Roark with just over 3 minutes left in the game.
The game didn't look like it would go to the Reapers at the onset of the first quarter. Plano's first two offensive possessions ended quickly with turnovers off of fumbles.
Plano's defense would cause Wilmington to go 3 & out after both of those turnovers, helping make sure the Cats didn't capitalize on the Plano mistakes.
Alex Jensen would make sure there were no mistakes on their next offensive possession. He'd take back a punt for an electrifying 70 yard touchdown, putting Plano on the board first with 2:25 left in the first.
Over the next three quarter the Reaper D would stuff the Wildcats at the line of scrimmage. Wilmington's longest run of the day was for 6 yards & the were held a total of 30 yards on the ground & 109 in the air.
The Wilmington defense didn't just bow over for the Reapers either. While Nasti scored on runs of 33 & 13 for the Reapers, he ended up with just 88 yards of Plano's 180 yards rushing. Bott, was the Reaper's second leading rusher with 42 yards, he also was 4 of 7 for 54 yards passing.
Wilmington came out shooting in the 4th. With 12 minutes left between their last exit for Champaign & the end of the season, the Cats went all out in their quest for a return to the state finals.
After Nasti scored Plano's final TD of the night with 2:41 left in the 3rd quarter, Wilmington went on a comeback drive, rumbling down the field. Going for it on 4th & 2 inside their own 40 the Cat's drive would stretch into the 4th quarter & see 2 more 4th down attempts.
The Cats would go for it again on 4th & 3, this time Roark would hit Jim Cortese on a 30 yard strike, putting Wilmington on the 13 yard line. The Reapers would step up once again on defense, as a Roark to Cortese pass would go incomplete out of the endzone on 4th & 9.
Wilmington forced Plano to 3 & out and scored on a Dave Tafoya 6 yard reception with 6:18 left in the game.
An onside kick attempt was recovered by Jared Ferguson of Plano, but Wilmington allowed the Reapers to get just one first down before having to punt.
Wilmington's final drive would start with 3:34 left to play & the Cats starting on their own 20 yard line. They'd get to their 31 yard line before Bott picked off a 4th & 10 pass to help seal the game for the Reapers who, in only 2 team playoff appearances will make the quarterfinals for the 2nd time in team history.
Dillon Roark was 10 of 21 for 109 yards with 1 TD & 1 Int, he accounted for 107 of Wilmington's 139 yards of total offense.
by Vincent Johnson
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