Rebels falls short in section semifinals

DODGE CENTER — For a time in the fourth quarter it looked like the Southland Rebels might pull off an upset in the Section 2AA semifinals against the Triton Cobras.

Trailing by six points in the fourth quarter on Saturday night, the Rebels moved the ball into opposition territory with five minutes to play. In the end, the last drive of the season died on downs at the Triton 29-yard line.

The Cobras then killed the clock with an nine-play drive and put the game away for a 28-14 win. Jason Jennings scored his second touchdown of the night and the Cobras stayed unbeaten on the season.

Jennings rushed for 154 yards on 26 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. He carried the ball on all nine plays of the final drive as the Cobras moved on in the section football playoffs with the home win.

"It comes down to heart and effort; our kids played very physical against one of the best teams in the state on their home field," Southland coach Shawn Kennedy said. "One of these days, we just need to get by the section semifinals and into the championship game."


This section game was a close battle throughout as the visiting Rebels drove down the field and scored on the opening drive of the game. This was the high-octane offense that Rebels fans have been accustomed to seeing all season.

Alan May caught two passes on the opening drive. His second catch was a thing of beauty and went for a score. May caught a screen pass from Sam Noterman in traffic and then, danced through the defense for a 35-yard touchdown.

"We got them down early and you could see the momentum swing our way," Kennedy said. "Our offense came out ready to play and had their defense wondering what was going on."

After that first drive, the Cobras defense clamped down and held the high-powered Rebels offense to less than half of its per game scoring average. Noterman had four interceptions on the night and May only caught two more passes for minimal yardage.

"We made some defensive adjustments after that first drive and changed up the blitz scheme, but our guys just needed to play their responsibility," Triton coach Don Henderson said. "Holding their offense to only two touchdowns was a great accomplishment for our defense."

Triton answered late in the first quarter with a bit of trickery and tied the game. On fourth down at the 3-yard line of the Rebels, the Cobras lined up for an apparent field goal attempt.

Instead, the Cobras faked the kick and Logan Spitzack handed the ball to Ayrton Henderson, who ran it in for a touchdown. That was it for the scoring in the first half.

In the second half, the Cobras turned to Jennings and he wore down the Rebels defense. He ran the ball five times in a scoring drive to open the second half. Triton now had the lead for good, but it got a bit precarious in the fourth quarter.


A fumble by the Rebels gave the Cobras a chance to expand on their lead late in the third quarter. Austin Head scored to make it a 20-7 lead.

Southland came back with a touchdown in the opening two minutes of the fourth quarter. Noterman scrambled into the end zone on a fourth-down play and Lee DeHough added the extra-point to cut the deficit to 20-14.

The Rebels later moved down the field with a chance to take the lead, but it didn't happen. Noterman came up short on another fourth down scramble and the season now ticked away. The Cobras put the game away with a drive that was all Jennings.

"This was a great game and our guys battled to the end," Kennedy concluded. "The sad part is I don't get to hang out anymore with the seniors. They were a great group of young men to coach."

Southland finished the season with a 7-3 record. Triton (10-0) goes on the road Friday night for the section title game against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, the defending Class AA state champions.


Southland 7 0 0 7 — 14

Triton 7 0 13 8 — 28


First Quarter

S — Alan May 35 pass from Sam Noterman (Lee DeHough kick), 9:11.

Drive:6 plays, 67 yards.

T— Ayrton Henderson 3 run (Jason Jennings kick), 6:36.

Drive:7 plays, 59 yards.

Third Quarter

T — Jason Jennings 11 run (Jennings kick), 7:54.

Drive: 8 plays, 61 yards.


T— Austin Head 23 run (kick blocked), 2:02.

Drive:5 plays, 34 yards.

Fourth Quarter

S — Noterman 2 run (DeHough kick), 10:13.

Drive:11 plays, 52 yards.

T— Jennings 6 run (Jordan Johnson pass from Logan Spitzack), 1:07.

Drive:9 plays, 71 yards.




First Downs 14 18

Total Net Yards 267 300

Comp-att-int 8-21-4 8-13-0

Passing yds. 87 81

Rushes-yds. 39-180 48-219

Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-1

Penalties-yds. 7-50 7-53


Punts-avg. 3-34.0 4-33.7


RUSHING — Southland: Nick Schmitz 16-72, Mike Goergen 10-49, Sam Noterman 4-31, Tyler Kressin 6-24, Grant Hegge 3-4. Triton:Jason Jennings 26-154, Connor Henderson 6-31, Austin Head 5-29, Logan Spitzack 9-12, Ayrton Henderson 1-3, Jordan Johnson 1-(-10).

PASSING — Southland:Sam Noterman 8-for-21, 87 yards, TD, 4 int. Triton:Logan Spitzack 8-for-13, 81 yards.

RECEIVING — Southland:Alan May 4-56, Grant Hegge 3-16, Nick Schmitz 1-15. Triton:Austin Head 2-51, Jason Jennings 4-21, Connor Henderson 2-9.

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