Orioles fall to earth
By Tyson Fisher PrepsKC Student Intern
The Saturday afternoon semi-final showdown between the Valle Catholic Warriors and the Concordia Orioles turned into the Luke Uding show. Uding led the Warriors to 44-13 win over Concordia to take them to the championship game against Westran.
After Concordia had to punt the ball on the first possession, Valle quickly (very quickly) established the lead. On the first play, senior wide receiver Zach Weiler caught a bullet pass straight up the middle and ran it in for a 50-yard touchdown reception. A handful of short gains by the Orioles led them to turn the ball over on downs. Concordia needed a turnover for a shift of momentum. They ended up getting more than what they bargained for.
Concordia managed to intercept the ball for the momentum shift they needed. This was very short-lived as Valle managed to get the momentum back from a fumble recovery.
Not accepting to hand the ball over so easily, Concordia stole the ball right back when junior Collin Werts intercepted the ball on the first play. With so many turnovers in such a small frame of time, it was hard for anyone to take advantage of the momentum. The persistence of the defenses to get the ball back continued as senior Luke Uding of Valle intercepted the ball on the Orioles’ third play, regaining possession yet again.
With all the turnovers at neck-breaking speed, it was time for someone to make a move. This time, Valle managed to keep a hold of the ball, leading to another touchdown brought in by senior quarterback Alex Stoll. The Warriors led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Defensive strength remained a factor in the second quarter. After a three-and-out, Valle regained possession after an interception by senior Michael Loida. The Concordia defense stopped the offense and Valle reciprocated in the same manner.
Concordia had trouble tackling the Warriors running backs, allowing Uder to run them over for some key first downs. However, the Orioles secondary made for the lack in tackling with another interception. Held to a three-and-out and a blocked punt, Concordia gave Valle the ball in the end zone. In result, Valle kicked a field goal in the last seconds of the second quarter, ending the half with a 17-0.
Down but not out, Concordia needed to put some points on the board in the second half. In order to do this, the offense needed to quit turning over the ball and the defense had to find a way to tackle and stop both the running and passing game. A momentum shift was essential.
It only took Valle 16 seconds to kill any hopes of a momentum shift. That is the time it took Uding to return the kickoff at the half for a touchdown. There was plenty of time left on the clock, but Concordia needed to score quickly to get back in the game. The Orioles successfully completed consistent running plays for several yards at a time. An 18-yard touchdown reception by senior wide receiver Carter Brown put Concordia on the scoreboard. A failed two-point conversion put the score at 24-6. However, the Orioles used five and a half minutes on the clock to get there.
A good kickoff put the Warriors on their own 9, putting them in bad field position. Apparently, Uding was undaunted by the field position. In two plays, Uding ran the ball 91 yards for another Valle touchdown, the first for 25-yards and the touchdown rush for 66-yards. Motivated and fearless, the Concordia defense could not bring Uding down nor could they catch up to him once he broke through.
Concordia had a chance to close the gap once again after a completed pass in the end zone. However, offensive pass interference was called, and the touchdown was brought back. This detrimental blow to comeback would affect the rest of their play. The next play, Concordia turned the ball over on downs and was called on an unsportsmanlike penalty. Concordia was clearly frustrated.
Valle, on the other hand, held all the energy, and Uding held most of it. After a 46-yard carry from the Concordia 47, Uding punched it in for another touchdown. A missed extra point extended their lead to 37-6.
Again, the Orioles only managed to get short but consistent running plays. Unable to make big plays, Concordia controlled the ball for 17 plays going into the fourth quarter before turning the ball over on downs. Their defense managed to hold Valle to a three-and-out. Finally, Concordia pulled off two big plays, a 30-yard reception by junior Collin Werths and 19-yard carry by Luke Kapala. An 11-yard carry into the end zone by senior Kent Schuette closed the gap to 37-13.
After a failed onsides attempt, the Orioles quickly regained control after they stripped the ball from Valle on the first play. The glimpse of comeback was just that, a glimpse. It took Valle no time at all to intercept the ball and regain control. This resulted in an 85-yard touchdown rush by none other than Uding. With only a few minutes remaining in the game, all hope was lost for the Orioles.
Multiple turnovers early on made the game seem unpredictable. However, once Valle, and more specifically Uding, found their rhythm, they were unstoppable. Concordia’s offense was unable to keep the ball and make big plays, whereas their defense failed to tackle. Valle faces a worthy opponent in Westran in the championship game. If Uding can destroy their defense like he did against Concordia, the Warriors have a good shot at being state champions.
If you would like to see more photos from this game click here.
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