Houston football (2-seed, 9-1) implemented the correct game plan. They carried it out almost as they needed. In the Section 1 9-Man finals, versus defending state champion Spring Grove (1-seed, 10-0), the ‘Canes played the ball control game. They took their three, four, and five-yard gains, keeping the ball away from electric Lion quarterback Alex Folz. But Houston critically couldn’t finish two goal-to-goal situations and SG earned its second straight trip to state. A Ben Walters interception of Folz on SG’s opening possession helped Houston start its first long fruitful drive. The ‘Canes went 60 yards in 14 plays. James Hongerholt’s 12-yard TD run gave the ‘Canes a 6-0 lead. SG replied in just four plays. One was a 39-yard Folz run, another a 19-yard Folz TD run. Folz converted the PAT for a 7-6 Lions lead. Houston then got a 38-yard kick-off return from Walters, and a 29-yard run by Jaytin Millen. They were first and goal at the 10. The drive ended when Hongerholt was intercepted (Folz) in the end zone. The Lions then went 80 yards in 12 plays. A Folz 3-yard run made it a 14-6 SG, which stood as the half-time score. The game’s most critical drive was the first of the second half. Houston went 64 yards in 19 plays. They had a first and goal at the six. On fourth and goal from the six inch line, the ‘Canes were denied on a middle run. SG then went 99 yards in seven plays. Folz authored a 68-yard TD run early in the fourth. The Lions took a 21-6 lead. Houston’s next series went nowhere. Folz then ripped off a 51-yard TD run for 28-6 lead. Cody Hungerholt’s group competed valiantly, but the area’s top 9-man player Folz was simply too much (21-252 yards, 4 TDs rushing, 11-18, 112 yards, INT passing). Houston could only claim Section Runner-Up hardware, falling 28-6. Millen (16-85 rushing), Walters (11-45 rushing, 1-27 receiving), and Hongerholt (12-32, TD rushing) led the way. Joey Fishel had some early game carries (9-30 rushing), but swapped to line duty per an injury. The ‘Canes’ excellent season ends at 9-2. It was a year of run, and then run some more, with Millen and Fishel both going over 1,000 yards, aided in particular by interior lineman Kyle Twite, Alec Francis, and Tanner Krage. The senior group of Millen, Fishel, Hongerholt, Krage, Twite, Aaron Francis, Jacob Cripps, Jordan Langheinrich, Jesse Langheinrich, and Jacob Becker have helped ‘Cane football go 24-7 the last three years.
About Paul Trende