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OABCIG advances to first-ever state title game
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CLASS 2A SEMFINAL | OABCIG 41, ALGONA 32

OABCIG advances to first-ever state title game

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OABCIG's Easton Harms is tackled by Algona's Elliot Berkland after pulling in a long pass during the class 2A state high school football semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- It was the first trip under the lights of the UNI-Dome for the OABCIG football team, including the first time ever for any of the schools in the consolidation.

The special venue also meant the toughest opponent OABCIG has faced this season when the Falcons played undefeated Algona.

But the Falcons scored on the opening drive of the game and the big venue didn’t seem to affect them.

Once the Falcons started to get some defensive stops, they made sure this isn’t the only trip to the UNI-Dome for them this season as OABCIG beat Algona 41-32 on Saturday in the Class 2A semifinals.

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“We were all amped on up the ride up here. Before the game, we just had to settle down a little bit, get into a rhythm and make big plays,” OABCIG quarterback Cooper DeJean said. “(The first trip) obviously went great. We got the win and we are looking forward to next week.”

OABCIG’s (12-0) first-ever title appearance is at 1 p.m. on Friday at the UNI-Dome against No. 1 Waukon.

OABCIG vs. Algona state football semifinal

OABCIG's Easton Harms fails to knock away a pass for a touchdown to Algona's Jason Cecil during the class 2A state high school football semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

“I’ve been doing this 33 years and to get here, it’s just tremendous,” OABCIG coach Larry Allen said. “I am just glad the kids are letting me tag along. We haven’t had nerves all year. It’s just a group of kids that big games don’t seem to affect them. They just step up and keep playing.”

OABCIG opened up the game with a score as Griffin Diersen finished off the eight-play drive with a one-yard plunge.

After two three-and-out drives in its first three possessions, OABCIG started to figure out Algona’s defense, allowing the Falcons to go into halftime with a one-point lead.

Allen said the team got away from some of its normal play-calling early.

“We do a lot of crossing stuff and that’s been our bread and butter all year,” Allen said. “We just needed to get back to that and it puts a lot of stress on a defense when you are crossing every play and someone has to chase you. One missed step or one missed assignment and it really pays off for us.”

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OABCIG's Easton Harms tries to escape the grasp of Algona's Monte Bawden during the class 2A state high school football semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

The Falcons two scores came on a DeJean four-yard run and then with 20 seconds before the half, DeJean hit Jake Nieman for a 42-yard pass to put the Falcons up 21-20.

“When you pass the ball as much as we do, obviously you aren’t going to complete every single one,” said DeJean, who passed for more than 400 yards to go along with four passing touchdowns and one rushing score. “We just had to adjust and keep playing.”

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The next thing the Falcons had to figure out was how to slow down Algona’s offense, which put together three long scoring drives in the first half.

A 13-yard, 80-yard drive ended with a Garrett Schmidt one-yard touchdown. A 13-play, 75-yard drive ended with a two-yard Wyatt Wegener touchdown. Then a 12-play, 80-yard drive ended with Tyler Mankse hitting Jason Cecil for a five-yard score.

OABCIG made some adjustments at half and the Falcons forced two punts on the Bulldogs first two drives of the second half, which allowed OABCIG to take a two-score lead at 29-20.

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Algona's Wyatt Wegener tries to pull in a pass in front of OABCIG's Cooper Dejean during the class 2A state high school football semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

“(Coaches) made some adjustments here and there and the kids stepped up a little bit,” Allen said. “They got the feel of the game a little bit and were able to catch up with the speed of it a little bit I guess. The first half, we hit (Wegener) a little bit in the backfield and weren’t able to bring him down.

“Second half, there were a couple of times we were able to do that and we felt we could get them behind the chains, that was to our advantage for sure.”