It was an instant classic in an annual match-up that has already enjoyed its share of exciting finishes over the years.
“It was one for the ages. No question about it,” Columbia head football coach Scott Horner said.
In a back-and-forth game that entertained from kickoff Friday night through the final play of overtime early Saturday afternoon following postponement due to thunderstorms, Waterloo outlasted the host team Eagles, 27-24.
The Eagles had a golden opportunity to win the game late in regulation. Columbia quarterback Jacob Hill scrambled for 24 yards to Waterloo’s 20 yard line in the final minute, but two consecutive false start penalties by the Eagles offense forced a 46-yard field goal attempt with seven seconds left. Columbia kicker Greg Long missed being the hero by inches as his kick sailed just left of the goalpost.
In overtime, a roughing the kicker penalty against Waterloo gave the Eagles a second chance at the end zone after Long made a 40-yard field goal. But Waterloo’s defense held strong and Columbia had to settle with a 24-21 lead as Waterloo had its chance to counter. In high school, each team gets the ball at the 10 yard line with a chance to score. Waterloo opted to receive the ball second.
“Anybody could’ve won that game at the end,” Waterloo head coach Dan Rose said. “I pretty much felt like whoever kicked a field goal was probably not going to win it. And that’s why we went on defense first (in OT), so we knew what we had to do.”
What Waterloo had to do was score a touchdown to win. And win they did on a 10-yard run to the right by Rick Wiegand, who scored untouched for the thrilling 27-24 win.Columbia quarterback Jacob Hill sneaks his way around Waterloo defenders for positive yardage on Saturday. (Corey Saathoff photo)
Wiegand was the offensive star for Waterloo, scoring all four of the team’s touchdowns. His 17-yard TD reception in the first quarter on Friday night before the weather delay put the ‘Dogs up 7-0 heading into Saturday.
“Rick’s a player,” Rose said. “We’re very happy with Rick.”
Hill kept the Eagles in the game with a number of big plays. He finished with 96 yards rushing on 20 carries with two TDs and 68 yards passing with a TD throw to Lou Isringhaus that tied the game 21-21 in the third quarter.
“He probably offensively singlehandedly kept us in the game,” Horner said. “He plays his heart out.”
With the win, the Bulldogs (2-0) avenged last year’s 19-13 loss at home to the Eagles. Waterloo leads the overall series against Columbia, 16-13, since the rivalry began in 1983. The last six games between the two teams have been decided by seven or fewer points.
“It’s one more step, hopefully, on the way to the playoffs,” Rose said.
There was an interesting father-son footnote to this year’s rivalry game: Waterloo quarterback Aaron Laskowski’s father serves as an assistant coach for Columbia.
“I know it was tough,” Rose said of the Laskowski family dilemma. “His dad came over (before the game) and wished us luck.”
Read more on the Monroe County football showdown in the Sept. 10 print edition of the Republic-Times newspaper.
For a short video of Waterloo celebrating Wiegand’s game-winning TD, click this link: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=711026268935374
For more than 50 high-quality photos from the big game, click this link: http://republictimes.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=1843354&CategoryID=81965