Dons reclaim top football title!By Ken Thoma
A bitter loss in the State Quarterfinals one year ago for defending State Champions Don Bosco was more than enough to motivate the team to regroup and come together and make another charge in 2019. Last Thursday, Nov. 21, they completed their unbeaten season with their 4th State Football 8-Man Championship with a 35-19 victory over Audubon High School.
NOTE: It was exactly six years ago, on Nov. 21, 2013, that the Dons had their first unbeaten season! They were also unbeaten in 2017.
This was the sixth time in eight years that Don Bosco has played in the State finals and their 4th State Championship win! They also won the State title in 2013, 2016 and 2017, while getting second place finishes in 2012 and 2015.
Although they completely dominated all previous opponents this season, the finals in the Dome was anything but easy as the Dons seemed tensed up, especially in the first half. They allowed Audubon to take the opening game kickoff 65 yards downfield for an early game lead in only eight plays before the Dons responded with their own 65-yard TD drive, ending it with a 6-yard run by Thomas Even, to tie the score at 6-6. Neither team was able to mount a drive in the ensuing possession, and the first quarter ended with that tied score.
On Audubon’s third possession, they elected to pass on 4th and 5 yards to go, at the DB 37-yard line, but turned the ball over to Don Bosco with an incomplete pass. Don Bosco took advantage of that good field position and struck pay dirt in just seven plays when they also elected to go for it on a 4th and 7 play with a beautiful 29-yard TD pass from Cael Frost to Lewis Havel. Even added the 2-point conversion for a 14-6 point lead.
The momentum briefly appeared to swing to Don Bosco when they then momentarily overwhelmed Audubon with great defense to quickly get the ball back on a poor Audubon punt; getting the ball at the 18-yard line, DB would score again just three plays later with another Even TD run.
Audubon would just refuse to give in and, having again punted back to DB, they would stop the Dons and then block a punt to give Audubon the ball at the DB 14-yard line where they would quickly score just before halftime and narrow the Don Bosco lead to 20-13.
Don Bosco took the 2nd half kickoff on a 55-yard drive to up the lead to 27-13 with another Even TD run, while Audubon would answer late in the 3rd quarter to narrow the score to 27-19.
In the 4th quarter, it was an interception by the Don’s Dillon Welter in the Don Bosco end zone that really hurt Audubon. It led to another Don Bosco TD drive with Even running for his 4th TD of the game and a final score of 35-19.
It was another Welter interception, followed by a 63-yard punt into the end zone by Even before another interception, this time by Even, that totally closed the door.