An Evansville teammate told senior Jaden O’Bel to stay confident Friday night because the Blue Devils were going to repeat their magic from Week 2.
It was there that O’Bel made a 56-yard catch to set up a game-winning touchdown by quarterback Tyr Severson against Edgerton.
Fast forward to Friday and the second round of the WIAA football playoffs. Evansville took over on its own 30-yard line against Lakeside Lutheran with 1 minute, 25 seconds remaining and trailing by eight points. On the second play, Severson found O’Bel for 35 yards.
The glimmer of hope didn’t last long, though, as on the next play Severson half-rolled to his left and threw a pass up the sideline that was deflected by a Lakeside defensive back and fell into the hands of outside linebacker John O’Donnell. The fifth-seeded Warriors kneeled twice and earned a 14-6 victory over the top-seeded Blue Devils.
“We felt like we had momentum at the end,” Evansville coach Ron Grovesteen said. “We thought we were going to go down the field. We’re not here by luck, and neither is Lakeside Lutheran. They beat a good Jefferson team.”
O’Donnell also had a consequential catch on the offensive side of the ball, too, for the Warriors when he hauled in a 16-yard pass from Matt Davis on a 3rd-and-11 from the 21-yard line. Davis plunged in for a touchdown three plays later with 1:32 to play in the fourth quarter, padding Lakeside’s lead.
Junior Ian Olszewski gave Lakeside (7-4) the lead with 10:40 to play in the second quarter when he carried the ball 28 yards to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead. Olszewski took the handoff from Davis and cut it back against the grain after breaking a tackle.
“It was designed to be bounced out to the other side, but I saw that there wasn’t anyone to the right side,” Olszewski said. “I tried to cut it up and there was no one there, so I tried to turn on the jets as fast as I could. …
“It was tough to run and it got worse. Coach (Paul) Bauer always says the weather is always in our favor.”
Lakeside didn’t turn the ball over once, while Severson threw two interceptions, including one to Tersony Vater with less than a minute to play in the second quarter on the 1-yard line.
To open the second half, the Blue Devils (9-2) ran the ball nine plays in a row before Severson completed a 13-yard pass to Seth Maag on a 4th-and-2. Two runs later, Severson completed a seven-yard pass to Maag on a 3rd-and-8 from the Lakeside Lutheran 18-yard line.
Severson pushed forward in a quarterback sneak on the ensuing 4th-and-1 and rode the momentum into the end zone to make the score 7-6 with 4:42 remaining in the third quarter. The Blue Devils failed to pick up the two-point conversion and didn’t return to the end zone again.
“The conditions, there’s no excuses, we don’t have any,” Grovesteen said. “(Lakeside) moves on and we’ll have to watch now.”
LAKESIDE LUTHERAN 14, EVANSVILLE 6
Lakeside Lutheran 0 7 0 7—14
Evansville 0 0 6 0—6
Scoring: LL—Ian Olszewski 28 run (Tersony Vater kick). E—Tyr Severson 11 run (pass failed). LL—Matt Davis 1 run (Vater kick).
Statistics: First downs—Lakeside 14, Evansville 8. Rushing—Lakeside 44-201, Evansville 23-73. Passing yards—Lakeside 17, Evansville 58. Passing—Lakeside 8-1-0, Evansville 18-8-2. Fumbles—Lakeside 0-0, Evansville 1-0. Penalties—Lakeside 6-30, Evansville 2-30.