An inspired Waterloo High School football team had one-loss Mater Dei on the ropes Friday night, but the Knights rallied late with 21 unanswered points for a 35-28 victory.
The Bulldogs honored several seniors prior to their final game on the WHS turf, and many of them made their presence felt one last time.
Mater Dei scored first on a 31-yard touchdown pass at 7:58 of the first quarter.
Capitalizing on some penalties against the Knights, the Bulldogs answered with a two-yard TD run by Tanner Fry to tie the game just more than a minute later.
Waterloo took a 14-7 lead on a 15-yard TD pass from quarterback Eric Brown to senior running back Tyson Roedl with less than a minute left in the opening quarter.
Mater Dei was kept off the scoreboard in the second quarter, as Waterloo’s defense held strong on consecutive goal-to-go possessions by the Knights at the end of the half.
Roedl opened second half scoring with a one-yard TD run at 11:06 that put the ‘Dogs up 21-7 and had the crowd buzzing for an upset.
Mater Dei calmly climbed back into the game with a 28-yard TD pass at 4:29 of the third quarter.
Waterloo kept fighting against the Knights, answering with a 54-yard TD pass play from Brown to tall wide receiver Dustin Crawford to make it a 28-14 lead at 1:55.
The Knights closed out the quarter with a 25-yard TD pass, however, to keep the game close.
Mater Dei scored twice in the fourth quarter to take a 35-28 lead with 3:22 remaining in the contest.
In one last attempt to tie the contest, Waterloo’s offense drove down to the Mater Dei 25, only to lose a fumble. The Knights ran out the clock on the game – and Waterloo’s season – from there.
Roedl passed 1,000 yards rushing for the season in his final game for the Bulldogs, who finished with a record of 1-8. He carried the ball 24 times for 94 yards.
Leading the Waterloo defense was senior William Gilbert, who had nine tackles and eight assists.
Mater Dei improved to 8-1 with the win. Quarterback Reed Braundmeier threw for 327 yards and five TDs on the night.