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Fourth quarter drive pushes West Lyon past rival West Sioux in 1A semifinal
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CLASS 1A SEMFINAL | WEST LYON 26, WEST SIOUX 21

Fourth quarter drive pushes West Lyon past rival West Sioux in 1A semifinal

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West Lyon's quarterback Jalyn Gramstad pushes off West Sioux's Blake Van Ballegooyen as he runs the ball during a Class 1A State Semifinal game.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa— Down by a point with about six minutes left, West Lyon needed to drive 80 yards to get the go-ahead score.

That’s what the Wildcats are built for during Jay Rozeboom’s tenure. The Wildcats motto is ‘Make it Happen’ after all.

While it took an improbable scramble by quarterback Jalyn Gramstad early in the drive, the Wildcats were able to go the 80 yards in 11 plays and it was capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by Logan Meyer to give West Lyon a five-point lead with 1 minute, 28 seconds remaining in the game.

West Sioux still had a chance with Iowa State recruit Hunter Dekkers at quarterback, but the Wildcats were able to pick off the heave at the five-yard line and advanced to the Class 1A state championship game with a 26-21 win over district rival West Sioux on Saturday at the UNI-Dome.

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“We knew with our line, our quarterback and our players, we knew we could make a play and that’s exactly what happened,” West Lyon senior Gavin Lorenzen said.

West Lyon coach Jay Rozeboom said he feels like his team is geared for those kinds of drives.

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West Lyon's Jordan Ver Meer catches his coach in a hug as they celebrate winning a Class 1A State Semifinal game against West Sioux 26-21.

“We knew we were playing a really good team and it is really tough against a really good team,” Rozeboom said. “But we always have confidence in our offensive line and our program to be able to run the ball and get first downs and then you are good to go.”

West Lyon’s (11-1) win means West Sioux (10-2) won’t be defending its Class 1A title this upcoming Friday at the UNI-Dome. Instead, the Wildcats will face Van Meter for the 1A title at 10 a.m. that day.

Dekkers put the blame on himself. While he did throw for 307 yards, he started the game 1-for-8 and ended the game with two picks, the last one coming on his Hail Mary heave.

“They did what they needed to do to win that game and we didn’t, it’s just that simple,” Dekkers said. “Offensively, we weren’t clicking. I didn’t play very well. It was all on me. I didn’t perform like I should.”

West Sioux coach Ryan Schwiesow said the loss was completely on him, not Dekkers.

[More football coverage: OABCIG advances to first-ever state title game.]

“It wasn’t on him. Man alive, they had some great coverage and a great gameplan for us. There were some super small windows in there,” Schwiesow said. “If anything, it’s on me. I wasn’t mixing enough of the run in there with the pass. If I would’ve done that early, they would’ve had to come up and played the run more and that would make it a whole heck of a lot easier for Hunter to throw it.

“Quite honestly, I thought we were going to be able to throw it on them and they did a great job. Sometimes you just have to give credit to the other team.

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West Lyon's Mason Maurer runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during a Class 1A State Semifinal game against West Sioux.

West Lyon’s game-winning drive was in trouble right away after Dekkers and a couple of other Falcons sacked Gramstad for a loss of four. That set up third-and-16 from West Lyon’s 16-yard line.

“I thought our defense played fantastic,” Schwwiesow said. “Our defense made play after play after play. Unfortunately, I wish we would’ve made one more on that third-and-16, but kudos to them. Sometimes teams make plays, too.”

On third down, West Sioux brought pressure and Gramstad’s first two reads weren’t open. So he found a way to avoid pressure, sliding away from three different players and then had nothing but UNI-Dome turf in front of him.

Not only did Gramstad get the 14 yards the team needed, he broke free for 26 yards to move the ball to the 42-yard line.

“The coaches always tell me when I drop back, if the receivers aren’t open or my first read is taken away and my second read, take off,” Gramstad said. “I saw the blitz happen and I saw something open up, I can’t remember exactly, I just took off, used my legs to make a play and that’s kind of what happened.”

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West Sioux's Blake Van Ballegooyen stumbles as he runs the ball during Saturday afternoon's Class 1A State Semifinal game against West Lyon.

Gramstad was stopped for no gain on his next run but from that point, the Wildcats kept gaining chunks of yardage with each play, driving down to the West Sioux 13-yard line.

Rozeboom was OK with grinding more time off the clock and called some simple run plays. But Logan Meyer was able to power his way into the endzone on a 13-yard run to put West Lyon up 26-21 with 1:28 remaining.