CEDAR FALLS — Momentum is one of those oft-used words that can be applied to anything in life. However, the term is most prevalent in examining the world of sports.
In football, momentum at the right time is crucial in a season with a run to a title and in games can turn multiple times.
Saturday at the UNI-Dome in a Class 1A semifinal between the Sigourney-Keota Cobras and the OABCIG Falcons, it swung back-and-forth in the space of the final 2 minutes of the first half, starting with a touchdown.
Cade Molyneux’s 6-yard run capped an 11-play, 4:46, 76-yard drive that brought the Cobras within 19-14 to swing momentum.
The Falcons next scrimmage play saw momentum or ‘Mo’ swing back with a 33-yard completion. Two incomplete passes and a 5-yard pass and momentum swung with fourth-and-five. Two timeouts by the Falcons preceded Cooper DeJean’s run of five yards for the first down. Mo swings back, then swings again. The Falcons are called for holding to make it first-and-28. Three incompletes passes create fourth-and-28 and Mo is swinging with the Cobras. A timeout at: 34 by the Falcons and head coach Larry Allen tells his team, “We typically don’t get in these kind of situations, but it is not that big of a deal for us. Not like it would be for other teams because we can get 10, 12, 15 yards on a pass play. But this was huge for us, for sure.”
Mo jumps back with a touchdown pass with just: 18 on the clock.
“That fourth-and-28 was no problem for us and I think it was a key for us to score, ” DeJean said. “I just put it up there and my receiver did the rest.”
An open Griffin Diersen made the catch at the 15, gets hit two or three times, stays up and bulls into the end zone. Mo is with the Falcons, who lead 26-14.
“For us to get the first down not only, but the touchdown, it was just huge, just can’t say what a difference I thought that made,” OABCIG head coach Larry Allen said. “With us getting the ball first in the second half, it’s a 14-point swing.”
Actually, it was just a 10-point swing. The Cobras forced three fourth downs in the game, two on the OABCIG’s final drive of the first half and one on first drive of the second half when it converted a field goal.
A squib kick gives the Cobras the ball 57 yards from the goal line, but Mo isn’t close to being finished. Colten Clarahan throws a deep arching bomb of a pass that finds Molyneux and he grabs it on the run before being pulled down at the 11 for a 46-yard completion.
Mo helps the Cobras run downfield to spike the ball in an effort to stop the clock, but a flag flies.
The 5-yard penalty is because the center double-snapped. He “thought he heard something and flinched,” SK head coach Jared Jensen said. It’s a false start in a tough situation as the Cobras had no timeouts, but the “Pass play was huge for us.”
“Cade made a great catch,” SK’s Brady Duwa said. “Colton made a great throw. Our line gave him time.”
Now there’s: 02 on the clock with the ball on the 16 and the Cobras lined up ready to snap, yet as the halftime horn sounds with the snap. Confusion ensues and Mo is lost. How could the time have run off that quick?
“The official was over the ball, so the center could not get down to snap it,” Jensen said. “The whistle blew to start the clock, but the official still is over the ball. By the time he got out of the way and our center could get to the ball, the 2 seconds ran off. I feel like in that scenario, if they were going to blow the whistle, he should’ve already been backed off so the center could get the ball snapped.”
Hindsight always has better vision and Duwa saw a solution.
“Looking back at what happened, I wish I would’ve told Colten to fake the spike and give me a shot,” said Duwa, who caught a 13-yard TD in the fourth quarter. “A little Mac-action might have worked for us.”
Duwa referenced Western Michigan’s fake spike play at the 9 with 19 seconds left in a win over Toledo 41-38 last week. The original fake-spike happened in the NFL on Nov. 27, 1994, when Dan Marino motioned to everyone he was spiking it but instead stepped back and threw a TD pass to defeat the New York Jets.
“We went to halftime with a deficit that we thought we were fine with because we knew we were going to come out and out-physical them but it didn’t happen for us,” Duwa said.
“I thought the stop did a great job of taking some momentum out of their sails,” Allen said. “At the end of the first half, it could’ve given them a lot of confidence.”