Johnston Loses in Playoff Clinching Game to Waukee 40-17

Cameron DeRoos and Hank Lucas

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In the most important game of the football team’s year, they came up short, losing their win-or-go home game against Waukee. Johnston came in to this game 5-3 with a chance to clinch a playoff berth; the only thing in their way was a 5-3 Waukee. The implications were pretty simple: winner moves to the playoffs and loser leaves town. This game was Johnston’s last chance and they played like it, even though the first drives by both teams were stagnant, with neither team even scoring a field goal. On Johnston’s second drive they came out swinging, eventually ending with Noah Storts ’22 punching the ball in at the one yard line, allowing for Johnston to score first. But once Waukee’s offense trotted back onto the field, they immediately answered with a touchdown. Johnston made a field goal on their third drive and took the lead. A touchdown by Waukee allowed them to take the lead before the end of the first half but Johnston was still in this game, as they were only 4 points behind.

Waukee got the ball to start the second half and scored 13 unanswered points. Johnston showed a resurgence in energy after quarterback Noah Storts ’22 left the game with an injury and punter/backup quarterback Jack Rutz ’22 took over for him. Rutz threw a 20 yard touchdown pass to Quincy Hale ’20, cutting the lead from 17 points to 10. When Waukee got the ball back, they were unable to score, giving Johnston the chance to close the gap to a one possession game. With around one minute in the third quarter, Johnston got the ball and marched down to around midfield. On third and long near the Waukee 40, Rutz snapped the ball, looked down field, and tossed it to Lute Woodley ’20 who fought for it in the air and broke a tackle to run it in the end zone, for what was supposed to be a touchdown. An extremely contentious holding call on Eric Bui ’20, required Johnston to go for it which lead to a pick six that sealed the fate of the game and finished their season.

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