Remsen St. Mary’s to face WACO for 8-player football championship

Wednesday, November 16, 2022
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Remsen St. Mary's takes the field for their semifinal game. The Hawks return to the UNI-Dome turf on Thursday morning to play for the 8-player championship.

CEDAR FALLS — Remsen St. Mary’s (12-0) will face WACO of Wayland (13-0) in the 8-player championship game on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

WACO won their semifinal game over Newell-Fonda by a final score of 29-21. RSM beat Newell-Fonda 61-13 in their district meeting earlier this season.

After watching the Warriors play in the earlier semifinal game, RSM Head Coach Tim Osterman gave his initial thoughts on the team’s upcoming opponent.

“I think they’re a real physical team and you can see it up front,” Osterman said. “They’re going to do some great things and you’re going to have to prepare for all the little nuances of their formations and what they do as a team.”

History

WACO is made up of the towns of Wayland, Crawfordsville and Olds and is located in Henry and Washington Counties. Of the school’s 23 playoff appearances, all came in 11-player until last season when they made their first playoff appearance as an 8-player program.

Prior to this season, the Warriors had never made the title game. Their other semifinal appearances came in 2010 and 1972, the first year of the playoffs where only four teams in each class made the postseason.

Remsen St. Mary’s is seeking their second championship in three years and third overall in program history. The Hawks have made it to the UNI-Dome each of the last four seasons and in five of the last six years.

Offense

About two-thirds of WACO’s plays this season have been run on the ground although the split was closer to 50-50 in their semifinal win over Newell-Fonda.

Quarterback Isaac Oswald has completed about 57 percent of his passes this season for 1,547 yards. He has 23 touchdown passes compared to five interceptions. While he has rushed for eight touchdowns, Oswald isn’t the most prolific rusher with only about 200 rushing yards this season.

The Warriors are led in rushing by Simeon Reichenbach. He had 17 carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns in the semifinal win. He has rushed for 32 touchdowns and over 1,500 yards for the season. Louden Huisenga is second on the team with 11 touchdown runs and 430 rushing yards.

The team spreads out their receptions with five players having at least 10 catches this season. Mason Miller, who caught a touchdown pass in the semifinal game, leads the team with 23 receptions on the season.

Two-thirds of RSM’s semifinal plays came on the ground as they attempted a few more passes than normal. They had run the ball about 75 percent of the time prior to the semifinals.

Ortmann is the state’s most accurate passer with a completion percentage of just under 80 percent. Of his 32 passing touchdowns, 17 have gone to Ryan Willman.

A hobbled Ortmann was limited in running the ball in the semifinals, yielding some work from the quarterback spot to Jaxon Bunkers. Brenden Fisch and Alex Schroeder will see plenty of touches running the ball. Schroeder is also a good pass catcher while Bunkers provides another target.

Defense

WACO leads the class in interceptions this season with 25. They had one in the semifinals. Mason Miller leads the class with nine picks this season. The Warriors may be hard-pressed to force an interception against Ortmann, who has just three this season. Ortmann did throw one in the semifinal game, but it came on an untimed down at the end of the first half as the team tried to add to their lead.

The Hawks will have to watch out for Colton Leichty and Drew Diers who lead the team in tackling this season with 85.5 and 95.5 tackles, respectively. The pair reached double digits in the semifinals. Leichty had 4.5 sacks against the Mustangs while Diers added 1.5 sacks.

The RSM defense ranks fourth in interceptions this season. They did not have any takeaways in their semifinal win, but did buckle down in red zone and fourth down situations, holding Lenox to 1-of-5 in those situations.

Special teams

The Warriors have a capable kicker in Simeon Reichenbach. He is 10-of-14 on field goal tries this season, including making kicks from 28 and 20 yards in the semifinals. He has made a long of 49 yards this season. He has also had touchbacks on 80 percent of his kickoffs this season.

Along with doing the kicking, Reichenbach is also the main return man for the team.

Bunkers handles most of the kicking duties for the Hawks. He is 2-of-3 on field goal tries this season with a long of 27 yards. He has made a similar percentage of his PAT kicks.

Schroeder, Fisch and Keaton Harpenau are the main returners for kicks and punts for the Hawks this season.

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