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Tigers advance to second round

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TStatistics vs. Diller-Odelligers advance to second round, defeat Bees

The Osmond Tigers defeated the Diller-Odell Griffins 40-30 in the opening round of the Class D2 football playoffs at home on Thursday, October 26.

The Tigers started down 16-0 after the first quarter, but made some key plays, banded together, and completed a comeback. They took a 20-16 lead into halftime.

They outscored the Griffins 20-14 in the second half. They gained a key turnover, made some big plays, had a big goal line stand, and held the Griffins on a key two-point conversion attempt.

“This was a really fun game to be a part of,” Tigers Coach Scott Morrison said. “Diller-Odell was a very solid team that was ready to play. I’m extremely proud of our players for trusting in each other and working together to overcome adversity.”

The Tigers started the game with the ball on their own 15 yard-line and earned a couple first downs before being forced to punt.

Josh Gansebom (Jr., RB), Connor Gutz (So., RB), and Anthony Heiman (Sr., RB) each carried the ball to combine to pick up the game’s initial first down.

Then the Tigers picked up another first down and looked like they had some momentum rolling, but were halted by the Griffins’ defense and were forced to punt.

The Griffins scored on their opening possession and ran in the two-point conversion. That made the score 8-0 at the end of the first quarter.

After forcing the Tigers to punt on their next possession, the Griffins marched the ball forty-nine yards on six plays.

They converted the two-points and were up 16-0 in the second quarter.

Up to this point in the game the Griffins were picking up yards in chunks on first down, giving them second and third downs that were manageable and allowed them to keep drives going.

“Diller-Odell came out really aggressively on offense,” Morrison said. “They had some explosive players and a physicality that made them pretty well balanced.”

Quarterback Ryan Arnold had a solid game for the Griffins. He combined with Bryston Warren, William McGlaughlin, Nick Nelson, and Tucker Martin to create an explosive offense.  

After finding themselves down a couple touchdowns at home with nothing seeming to go their way, the Tiger players found a way to get themselves back into the game.

On their next possession, the Tigers found a way to do just that.

Justus Maertins and Anthony Heiman connected for a 63-yard touchdown pass that completely changed the complexion of the game.

“This was a big play for our team. It gave us confidence; it gave us an opportunity to take a deep breath and say ‘We can do this’,” Morrison said.

After the 2-point attempt failed, the Tigers went to work defensively.

Alexis Solorzano (Jr.) executed a great squib kick, which set up a first down play where Josh Gansebom set the edge defensively, allowing the Griffins just a one-yard gain.

The Tiger defense worked hard to stop D-O the next two plays and forced a punt. They then took possession on their own 34 yard line. It took them seven plays to get into the endzone again.

It looked like the drive would stall out on the D-O 19 yard-line as the Tigers were facing a 3rd-and-14, but the team stepped up and scored on a 19-yard pass play.

Heiman found Maertins, who made a nice catch after a solid route. They line held well, giving Heiman plenty of time to get the pass off.

The interior linemen including Nick Reikofski (Sr.), Solorzano, Landon Stelling (Jr.) were solid with their protection throughout the game.

Up 16-12 and looking to stop the bleeding, the Griffins took possession and went back on the attack. They were driving when Maertins came up to make a tackle of the edge. He made a physical tackle, and at the same time stripped the ball away and gave the Tigers possession again.

“This was a huge play in the game,” Morrison said. “Justus made a great play put us right back on track.”

It didn’t take too long for Heiman and Maertins to connect again. This time Maertins scored from 25 yards out, and the Tigers now had a 16-12 lead.

Nick Reikofski then converted the 2-point attempt as Heiman found him wide open in the middle of the endzone.

Reikofski then turned around and intercepted a pass on the next possession, which helped the Tigers move the game into halftime with a 20-16 lead.

“We took all the momentum into halftime and we’re feeling good,” Morrison said. “We responded really well from a tough start.”

Headed into the second half, though, Diller-Odell was not to be counted out. They scored on the half’s opening possession in just five plays.

They converted the two-point conversion and were up 24-20. The Tigers had an answer, though.

They went on a 12-play drive that spanned 65 yards and ended with a Heiman 1-yard touchdown. The conversion was no good, and the Tigers were up 26-24.

The Griffins’ picked up where they left off. The moved the ball inside the Tigers’ ten yard-line. This turned out to be a huge turning point in the game.

The Tigers held the Griffins on four straight plays and forced them to turn the ball over on downs.

“This was a crucial point in the game for our team,” Morrison said. “We’d had difficulty stopping their offense, but our games kept their heads up and got a big stop!”

They then turned around and got a big first down via the hands of sophomore end Zach Huwaldt. Heiman found him running all alone across the middle of the field, and he made a nice catch for a big first down.

The next play Heiman hit Maertins once again—this time for a 29-yard gain. This ultimately led to a 28-yard touchdown run by Heiman.

The Tigers were up 32-24 with about ten minutes to go in the game.

Looking to even the game, the Griffins took possession on their own 15 yard-line. They advanced the ball to 34 when Solorzano made a tackle that jarred the ball loose.

Patrick Vinson (Fr.) jumped on the ball and the Tigers took possession.

“This was a huge play in the game,” Morrison said. “Diller-Odell has an explosive offense, and as long as they had the ball in their hands they had a chance to win the game, so creating a turnover and scoring was really big.”

Two plays after the fumble, Heiman ran in a 19-yard touchdown. He then ran in the two-point conversion where the line had a huge surge going forward.

The Griffins were not done yet. They scored on a fourth down, 42-yard trick play. This made the score 40-30 and gave the Griffins a chance to make cut the Tiger lead to just one score.

However, the Tigers stood tall on the two-point conversion.

“This was huge play in the game and big credit to being focused in the moment,” Morrison said. “The guys could have easily hung their heads after giving up a big play, but they refocused and made a play.”

The Tigers took possession with just over 6:00 remaining in the game. They aimed at getting a few first downs.

They got two and had the clock running, but stalled out on a 4th-and-2 at the D-O 36. On the play, the Tigers had a false start penalty, which moved the ball back five yards and forced the Tigers to punt.

On the punt, the snap was a little to high for Maertins to handle. He got a hand on the ball, which fell to the ground where he jumped on it.

“Although the play didn’t exactly worked out as we hoped it would,” Morrison said, “Justus made a really smart play by just falling on it and not trying to rush a quick punt attempt.”

This gave D-O the ball in Osmond territory, where they marched the ball down to the Tiger 1 yard line. At one point Arnold scrambled around the right end and looked to have a path to the endzone when Heiman emerged and made a great tackle.

On the play, the Griffins were called for a blindside block, moving them back to the six. The Tigers then held the Griffins and forced them to turn the ball over on downs.

“This was an extremely fun game to be a part of. We definitely got a lot of support from the student section, parents, community members, and all others who came to the game!”

“All those responsible for providing and helping with the meal given to both teams’ players after the game deserve a lot of credit as wel!! Thanks for what you did!!”

"Thank you to all of those who help with the field and with creating the game experience!" 

The Tigers will travel to take on Bloomfield in the second round of the Class D2 playoffs.