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VALIANT EFFORT

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Chase McAlister of South Central Calhoun dives for a first down against West Sioux during class 2A quarterfinals on Friday in Lake City

LAKE CITY — Defending Class A state champion West Sioux will return to the UNI-Dome as a 1A semifinalist after besting South Central Calhoun here Friday night, 34-20.

The fifth-ranked Falcons set the state’s 11-man scoring record a year ago on their way to a perfect season.

Cole Corey hit Jared Birks for an 85-yard touchdown in the fourth to cut the deficit to 27-20, but the No. 4 Titans would get no closer.

“We had a great year, but this one hurts,” SCC head coach Bryan Case said. “The good news is the sun will come up tomorrow. I thought we had a good game plan coming in, we just needed to execute it a little better.”

Prior to that scoring drive, SCC’s defense held strong, forcing a field goal attempt that was missed after getting a stop.

Zane Neubaum kicked through a pair of field goals from 27 and 28 yards out in the first quarter for the Titans. Chase Scheidegger recovered a fumble in the second quarter.

Keagen Meyer ran for 110 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown, while Corey was 7-for-14 for 148 yards with his TD to Birks, who had five catches for 120.

Meyer also had a 36-yard reception and Chase McAlister finished with 161 all-purpose yards.

“West Sioux is a good football team and they found a way to capitalize on our mistakes, and they made just enough plays to come out on top,” Case said. “Our kids played with heart, determination and never gave up until the final horn. I’m proud of our team and the way they handled themselves this year.

“That’s a sign of true character. We’ll miss our seniors.”

Hunter Dekkers threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns — including a 71-yard TD completion to Kade Lynott — for the Falcons. Dekkers, a junior, was the starting quarterback last year, as well.

South Central Calhoun graduates seniors Birks, Chase McAlister, Josh Van Hulzen, Mason Merkley, Hunter Riedesel, Austin Olberding, Kody Kutz, Jacob Schrage and Nick Stelling.

West Sioux will square off with Van Meter in one semifinal in Cedar Falls next week, with Dike-New Hartford and Pella Christian battling in the other.

Like the Falcons, Van Meter is a defending state champion, winning gold in 1A a year ago.

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