AKRON -- The Blackhawk football team made history with a 42-28 win over Akron-Westfield in Friday's Class A quarterfinal play.
Hinton advances to the state football semifinals for the first time and will play in the UNI-Dome this Friday.
The Blackhawks (9-3) took their coaches' words to heart and turned an early lead by the Westerners (10-2) into a Hinton win.
It was the Blackhawks' first-ever state quarterfinal game, too.
At the Akron quarterfinal, A-W scored first and scored again before the Blackhawks made it to the end zone.
A-W senior Cory Eskra made a touchdown toss to junior Chance Hoffman to break open scoring for the night. The kick by senior Taylor James was good.
"We came out and did some things really well and took the lead early," A-W coach Eric Walkingstick said. "Sometimes it feels like that's a curse when you come out too quick."
Before the quarter was up, Hinton QB senior Morgan Wenzel found Dalton Becker in the end zone to score.
The kick by junior Matthias Gross-Holtick was good, making the score 13-7 by end of the quarter.
Diediker said Hinton had a rough first quarter.
"We botched a punt and gave up a long pass to them for a touchdown. We weren't looking the best," he said. "But we came back in the second quarter."
In that quarter, Hinton sophomore Logan Jurgensmeier took an interception return 15 yards for a TD.
Gross-Holtick's kick gave Hinton a one-point lead, 14-13.
A-W answered with a touchdown carried in by James. The Westerners lead 19-14.
Hinton wasn't done for the half. Wenzel made a successful dash for the goal line twice for the Blackhawks.
Then the clock ran out on a A-W drive for the end zone, making the halftime score 27-19, Hinton.
"There were quite a few lead changes in the game and scoring throughout by both teams," Walkingstick said. "It was just one of those tough games where two good teams go at it. We had some mistakes, and in the end it kind of cost us."
A-W also lost one of its top receivers to an injury, which hurt the team, the coach said.
In the third quarter, the Westerners took the lead once more.
James ran in a 50-yard touchdown and later added a 24-yard field goal to make it a one-point game in A-W's favor, 28-27.
Hinton couldn't be stopped. The Blackhawks lit up the scoreboard again with a TD pass from Wenzel to Becker before end of quarter.
Becker also caught the two point conversion pass to give Hinton the 35-28 lead.
The fourth quarter was a defensive battle with only one score.
Hinton wrapped up the quarterfinal play with a 6-yard touchdown run by Wenzel.
The kick by Gross-Holtick was good, sealing the deal.
With only two minutes left, there was not enough time for the Westerners to rally.
The Blackhawk victory was a bit of redemption after their regular season matchup with the Westerners.
"Last time, we were ahead and they scored three in the fourth quarter to win," Diediker said of the September game. "Tonight they went ahead in the third quarter and we scored the last two touchdowns."
At Friday's quarterfinal, Hinton quarterback Wenzel went 10-for-21 passing for 198 yards, including two touchdowns. He also threw one interception.
Offensively, Becker rushed 34 yards for the Blackhawks in 10 attempts and made five receptions for 109 yards, including two TDs.
Wenzel carried the ball 29 yards in 20 attempts, with three scores.
Hinton senior Jason Vander Kooi made five receptions for a gain of 89 yards.
Junior Cole Johnston rushed four times for 12 yards and senior Colin Poss carried the ball twice for 8 yards.
For the Blackhawk defense, senior Marcus Turman made a fumble recovery and Jurgensmeier and Vander Kooi each caught an interception.
Poss made seven solo tackles and four tackle assists, Turman made six solo tackles and two assists, Jurgensmeier made five solo tackles and three assists, Johnston made five solo and two assists, Becker made five solo and one assist, senior Werner Trierweiler made four solo and two assists.
"Defensively we played well after that first quarter," Diediker said. "Kids got after the ball."
Leading A-W's offense, senior Taylor James rushed 114 yards in 16 attempts. QB Cory Eskra rushed 94 yards in 30 attempts.
Eskra also went 10-for-21 passing for 129 yards, throwing one TD and two interceptions.
Hoffman received three passes for 68 yards and one TD. James received three more for 26 yards.
"We moved the ball really well. We just didn't move it necessarily sometimes when we needed to," Walkingstick said.
A-W racked up about 340 total offensive yards to Hinton's 285, he noted.
Defensively, senior Daniel Beitelspacher led with five solo and seven assist tackles. James added four solo tackles and five assists, senior Kyle Schroeder had three solo and five assists, senior Cole Oltmanns had three solo and three assists.
Walkingstick congratulated his players on their season.
"They fought with a big heart and a good conscience," Walkingstick said. "It was something to be proud of both as a fan and a coach. The play on and off the field was extremely outstanding, and our kids have great character. I'm proud of them.
"Now we'll have to go back to work and start some things again, but I think we're up to the challenge," the coach said.
Hinton is heading back to the practice field this week to prepare for Friday's semifinal in Cedar Falls, Diediker said.
The Blackhawks will meet Logan-Magnolia on the UNI-Dome's gridiron at 1 p.m. Friday
Lo-Ma (11-1) advances to state after a 46-14 win over Woodward-Granger last week.
"This will be the first time for us in the Dome," Diediker said. "We're going to enjoy it."