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Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Cavs hand Flyers first loss of season

Coldwater scores 35 unanswered after an early 14-point deficit

By Randy Bruns

Coldwater's Austin Bruns, 7, rolls out to pass during the Cavaliers' Midwest Ath. . .

COLDWATER - With their playoff lives on the line, the Coldwater Cavaliers dug deep and clawed back from a 14-point deficit to rout the Marion Local Flyers by a score of 42-21 on Friday night at Cavalier Stadium.
After the Flyers took an early 21-7 lead, the Cavaliers responded with 35 unanswered points behind a reinvigorated defense and a laser-sharp passing game.
The win pushes Coldwater to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the Midwest Athletic Conference, but more importantly, it provides the big win the Cavaliers needed to stay in the thick of the playoff hunt.
With the loss, Marion falls to 7-1 on the year and 5-1 in the MAC, though the Flyers still look good for a playoff spot, and potentially a first-round home game.
The Cavaliers marched right down the field on their first drive, going 86 yards on 10 plays, capped by a 19-yard scoring strike from Austin Bruns to Reese Klenke.
As it turned out, the Bruns-to-Klenke connection haunted the Flyers all night long, but after giving up the opening score, the visitors put their own offense into high gear.
Marion answered with a long drive of its own after starting on its own 19-yard line. Effectively mixing the pass and run, the Flyers went 81 yards on 11 plays, with Niles Keller sweeping in from six yards out to knot the score at 7-7.
The Flyers struck quickly on their next possession after being pinned back on their own eight-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Ryan Mescher found Greg Schwieterman streaking down the middle of the field and the seniors connected for a 92-yard touchdown.
The Marion defense then came up big when A.J. Homan intercepted a deflected pass and returned it to the Coldwater 32-yard line. Four plays later, Jake Heitkamp took a handoff up the middle and disappeared in the pile before emerging unscathed and sprinting 18 yards for a touchdown that put the visitors up 21-7.
Things were looking good for the Flyers until the Cavaliers gained some momentum just before halftime. After two incompletions to start the drive, Bruns caught fire and hit on three straight tosses. The key was a 40-yard strike to Aaron Rammel that brought the ball to the Flyers' 14. From there, Bruns found Kurt Schoenherr in the end zone to bring the Cavaliers back within seven.
Coldwater took control early in the second half and never looked back.
After an interception gave the Cavaliers good field position, Bruns went back to the air and looked for his favorite target. Klenke hauled in a seven-yard pass for a first down, and after a pass interference penalty on the Flyers, Bruns found Klenke again, this time for a 21-yard scoring strike. The Cavaliers then elected to fake the extra-point kick but the pass failed, leaving them down one point.
Though it looked like a big deal at the time, that one point didn't make a bit of difference.
A nice punt by the Flyers pinned the hosts on their own nine-yard line, but field position doesn't mean a thing when you've got big-play threats like the Cavaliers do. On the first play, Klenke put a move on the defensive back and caught a bullet from Bruns before sprinting untouched for a 91-yard touchdown. Bruns and Klenke then hooked up on the two-point conversion to make the score 28-21.
It was smooth sailing from there for the Cavaliers, thanks to a defense that absolutely put the clamps on the Flyers.
A fake punt failed to gain a first down for Marion, and Coldwater took advantage when Rammel barreled over the goal line from a yard out. Ross Wermert later capitalized on a Coldwater interception when he rumbled 29 yards to put the final points on the board.
"We have been looking for that one really big win," said Coldwater coach Chip Otten. "These guys are used to making the playoffs and playing for the league title. Obviously we can't do that one, but making the playoffs is a goal and we've got a couple more to win, but this is a huge boost for our confidence."
After the game, Marion coach Tim Goodwin could only shake his head about the turnaround in his team's fortunes after the first quarter and a half.
"We just couldn't stop them," said Goodwin. "You have to give (Coldwater) credit because they certainly deserved to win the game and we did not. When the game is going like it was and they always seem to have the ball, we couldn't get into any kind of a rhythm. It wasn't our night."
Bruns and Klenke both put up some monster numbers. The sophomore signal caller hit on 18-of-32 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns, while the senior receiver grabbed 11 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
"Reese Klenke is just a beast," complimented Otten. "He makes plays and if it's close, he's going to catch it."
Coldwater will look to continue its winning ways next week when it visits New Bremen. Marion will go from the frying pan straight to the fire when it hosts St. John's on Friday.
Additional online story on this date
ROCKFORD - New Bremen jumped out to a 21-0 lead, only to see Parkway rally after several Cardinal turnovers and the score was tied early in the fourth quarter. [More]
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