BLOOMFIELD — On a cold and blustery Tuesday afternoon and with a snow-covered field, the Falls City Sacred Heart Irish rolled into Bloomfield and turned back the undefeated Bees, knocking them out of the Class D2 state football playoffs with a 36-0 victory.
What started as defensive struggle in the first half ended up a rout in the fourth quarter despite Bloomfield's attempts at generating a comeback throughout the final 24 minutes.
"We had trouble generating any offense the entire game," Bloomfield coach Matt Kuchar. "Between the conditions and Sacred Heart, it was very difficult to come back once we fell behind."
The Bees weren't behind by much until later in the third frame, but as they became more and more desperate to make anything work offensively, the Irish started to take advantage of field position and the stiff wind to pull away and advance to next week's semifinals against Humphrey St. Francis.
The D2 heavyweights traded punches throughout the first half with Sacred Heart getting just enough offense, one play, to take a 6-0 lead into the second half.
"Both defenses dominated most of the game," Kuchar said. "But once we got later in the game, we had to take some chances and things kind of got away from us in the fourth quarter."
Falls City Sacred Heart's Jakob Jordan found Del Casteel on a swing pass and 52 yards later Casteel was standing in the end zone to put the Irish up 6-0 after the conversion attempt failed.
The touchdown came with 3 minutes, 43 seconds left in the opening quarter, and the play accounted for nearly all of the offense in the first half.
FCSH used another big play early in the third quarter when Jordan escaped on a 42-yard scamper on the first play from scrimmage to put the Irish up 12-0.
Jordan hit Tyler Witt on the conversion pass, and Sacred Heart had enough points to last the entire game with a 14-0 lead.
The defenses continued to make both offenses struggle throughout the third quarter until FCSH took advantage of Bloomfield mistakes as the wind and the game kept rolling along.
After the Irish scored their second touchdown of the game in the third quarter, longtime Sacred Heart coach Doug Goltz reached into his bag of tricks and called a throwback pass to the Irish quarterback, which worked to perfection from 22 yards away.
Jordan handed the ball to Jake Hoy for an apparent sweep to the right side of the Irish offense.
Jordan snuck around the left end and Hoy found him running alone down the frozen left sideline for a 22-yard completion and score.
Hoy did the honors on the extra point, and Sacred Heart was in command 22-0 with 52 seconds left in the third.
The Bees were called for a couple of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the touchdown pass and the extra point, allowing the Irish to kick off from the Bloomfield 20.
The Irish squibbed the ensuing kick, which the Bees recovered, but they were deep in their own territory.
Sacred Heart would tack on a couple of cosmetic scores in the final 12 minutes, but the damage was done and the Bees were sidelined for the rest of the playoffs.
"You can't play from behind against a team like Sacred Heart," Kuchar said. "They just keep coming at you.
"I'm proud of our guys, this group of seniors have given us four years of excellence. It's sad to see it all end."
Class D2 state playoffs
FCSH (11-0) 6 0 16 14 — 36
BL (10-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0
FCSH: Del Casteel 52 pass from Jakob Jordan (run failed), 3:43.
FCSH: Jordan 42 run (Jordan run), 11:42.
FCSH: Jordan 22 pass from Jake Hoy (Hoy run), :52.
FCSH: Hoy 9 run (run failed), 9:33.
FCSH: Hoy 7 run (Casteel pass from Jordan), 4:12.