(Photo Courtesy: Dana Royer /// thehawkeye.com)
Wayland — Braden Wessel’s fourth quarter punt return sent the Audubon Wheelers to the UNI Dome, defeating WACO 34-30 in a heartbreaking 8-Player Quarterfinal yesterday in Wayland.
The Warriors, leading 30-28, saw Wessel scamper 70-yards, weaving in and out of tacklers to give the Wheelers a lead they would not release.
They did earlier in the tilt, however, as WACO rallied in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 28-16 into the game’s last moments, WACO saw Jon Rice and Simeon Reichenbach both score rushing touchdowns to give the Warriors a 30-28 lead.
Reichenbach was particularly outstanding.
The senior to be rushed 28 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns, while Jon Rice added 37 and two scores of his own.
A week after rushing for 301 yards and six touchdowns in their win over Montezuma, Wheeler quarterback Gavin Smith was held to just 84 yards by arguably 8-Player’s stingiest defense.
The loss ends WACO’s season at 10-1, falling one game of an appearance at the UNI Dome.
Audubon improved to 10-1 and is at the Dome for the second time in three seasons.
Their opponent is unknown at this time.