The EPC Wildcatz and the GCMS Falcons are making it a tradition it seems like, playing each other for the second year in a row in the playoffs. Last year EPC traveled to GCMS in the first round and were throttled badly, which would later result in GCMS winning the class 2A State Championship.
This year proved to be different. The Wildcatz and Falcons faced off with a state championship birth on the line in Lanark, both teams coming in with a record of 12-0. GCMS was the heavy favorite, but EPC embraced that all year. This years match-up proved to be much different than last years massacre.
The first half didn’t offer a lot in terms of excitement other than turnovers and penalties. The game was tied at halftime 0-0 after the Wildcatz failed to take advantage on their last drive of the half, deep in GCMS territory.
For everything the first half lacked, the second half erased in a matter of seconds. Freshman Aiden Laughery took the second half kick 53 yards, setting GCMS up deep in EPC territory. The Falcons drove the ball all the way down to the EPC 1 yard line before the Falcons had a costly penalty setting up the field goal attempt. The 23 yard attempt was partially blocked and wide right and the game remained scoreless.
The Falcons would however capitalize on their next drive with 3:56 remaining in the third quarter. Jared Trantina ran 4 yards to put GCMS up 7-0.
In a span of 56 seconds, both GCMS and EPC exchanged interceptions because EPC finally settled in on their next drive. With 11:13 to go in the game EPC opened the play book with some trickery, the halfback option. Jayden Kempel rolled to the right side and connected with his brother Jarod Kempel for 7 yards and the tieing score.
The EPC defense turned things up a notch on GCMS, forcing the Falcons to punt. But the GCMS defense would return the favor. Deep in their own territory EPC was forced to punt, but it was blocked.
GCMS took over at the EPC 26 yard line with 6:21 remaining. With their backs against the wall and facing 4th down, GCMS snapped the ball past Nathan Garard. Garard ran back, picked up the ball, and threw a dart to Ryland Holt for the GCMS go ahead and game winning touchdown.
The Falcons fumbled the ball 5 times and threw an interception. EPC had two punts blocked in the game, one of which turned out to be lethal.
The Wildcatz were led on the ground by Jayden Kempel with 66 yards on 20 carries. GCMS was led on the ground by Jared Trantina with 58 yards on 20 carries. EPC finished the game with 187 yards of offense while GCMS had 127. GCMS was out gained for the second week in a row, but advanced. GCMS will take on Maroa-Forsyth for the 2A State Championship for the second year in a row.