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Falcons Square Off With Bulldogs For Class 1A State Title

Thursday night around 6:30 PM we will know who the winner of the Class 1A state title game will be. The Falcons used a remarkable come back to win a two-overtime thriller 24-21 over Dike New Hartford in the state semifinal to earn their way into the title game. The Van Meter Bulldogs cruised to a 28-7 win over Beckman Catholic. This game shapes up as a real chess match between Falcon head coach Ryan Schwiesow and his balanced offense versus the strong running game featured by head coach Eric Trudo of the Bulldogs.





The Falcons offense led by junior QB Dylan Wiggins (2,873) yards passing and (33) touchdowns will look to get out of the gate quicker than last week. Wiggins has the skill players around him to do just that. The Bulldogs have shutout (7) opponents so far this season and are giving up (4.0) points per game on defense. The Bulldogs have outscored their playoff opponents by a combined score of 178-34.

Wiggins arsenal of receivers includes versatile junior athlete TE/RB Brady Lynott who is a swiss army knife kind of player. Lynott can burn you on the ground (126) rushing yards and (6) scores and hit you over the top with (45) receptions for (896) yards and (12) touchdowns. Senior WR Aaden Schwiesow has had a great season with (45) catches of his own for (603) yards and (9) scores.

Senior receiver Blake Van Balleygooyen has hauled in (39) passes good for (580) yards and (5) scores. Senior Levi Koopmans checks in with (32) receptions for (337) yards and (2) scores and talented junior RB Carter Bultman out of the backfield has (37) catches for (463) yards and (7) touchdowns. I look for this group to really pressure the Bulldog defensive secondary and hit on some big plays early in the contest.

The Bulldogs are a run heavy team with senior QB 6-1 (180) Jack Pettit who has thrown for (1,133) yards and (20) touchdowns against only (1) interception. More importantly Pettit has rushed the ball for (931) yards and (13) scores. Senior RB Dalten Van Pelt has rushed (229) times for (1,664) yards and (24) scores. The Bulldogs have rushed for (3,238) yards and passed for (1,199) yards on the season.

I look for the Falcons to really be strong defensively on early downs and put the Bulldogs behind the chains and force them to throw the ball which is something they are not real comfortable doing. The leading receiver for the Bulldogs is senior Ganon Archer 6-4 (185) target who has (19) receptions on the season and (8) touchdowns. The other WR to keep an eye on is senior Chris Schreck (17) receptions for (270) yards.

Defensively, the Falcons have a group of kids that really rally to the football and they will have to be strong in run support to have success as the Bulldogs have a good sized offensive line. Senior Cullen Koedam leads the Falcons with (80) tackles and (14.5) TFL. Lynott has been active with (64) tackles and (7.5) TFL from his linebacker spot. Seniors Van Ballegooyen (57.5) tackles and Levi Koopmans (44) tackles have done an excellent job this season from a leadership and performance perspective.

The Bulldogs feature senior LB Korbin Barck (45) tackles and (3.5) TFL. Other key contributors include Ben Gilliand (41) tackles and (8) TFL along with junior Carter Durflinger (38.5) tackles and (11) TFL. Defensive lineman Michael Banks has registered (26) tackles on the season.


* Bulldogs have punted (19) times on the season

*Falcons have punted (28) times on the season

*Bulldogs average 7.3 yards per carry

*Falcons average 6.4 yards per carry

*Falcons average 6.4 yards per carry

*Bulldogs average 7.3 yards per carry

*Bulldogs have averaged (16.0) yards per catch on (75) receptions

*Falcons have averaged (14.3) yards per catch on (218) receptions

SSI PREDICTION: I expect the Bulldogs to run the ball as they have all season and they have done it well. I feel their game plan revolves around keeping the Falcon offense on the sideline and minimizing their offensive possessions. The one thing that the Falcon offense has is balance and I look for them to really stretch the field today in the passing game. These are two very deserving teams and this will be a four quarter dogfight. I just like the Falcons ability to strike quickly. If the Falcons can get out to an early lead and dictate tempo they have a great shot at winning the state title.



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