Neither the 165 plus mile trip, nor the weather, nor the fact they were facing the number one team in the state stopped the Mewkwaki faithful from following the Warriors to Lenox last Wednesday night for their first ever post-season appearance.
The Warriors fell 76-24 to the Tigers, but left the field with their heads held high, knowing they had been a part of the school’s history.
“This was a great season,” said coach Todd Dale. “To make the play-offs in our second year was awesome. There are lots of schools out there that have been playing a lot longer than that and are still trying to reach that goal.”
The Tigers started quickly, scoring on their first possession on the way to a 36-6 first quarter.
The Warriors scored with 2:12 left in the quarter on a 55-yard pass from Vinnie Lasley to Stacy YoungBear. YoungBear had a hand in all four of the Warriors touchdowns.
“There’s no doubt we were a little nervous at the start of the game,” said Dale. “To draw the number one team in this situation was a pretty tough draw.”
The Tigers scored at the end of the first quarter with time expiring during the play. After changing ends the Tigers kicked off from their 30-yard line. They were penalized five yards for being off side and re-kicked from the 25-yard line. This kick went out-of-bounds, forcing a third kick off from the 20-yard line. The Warriors returned this kick. The Tigers intercepted a Warrior pass on the first play from scrimmage, then turned the ball right back to the Warriors with a fumble on the Lenox 34-yard line. The Tigers intercepted another Warrior pass on their 21-yard line, all providing one of the most interesting 60 seconds of play you could ask for.
Lenox scored on the next possession, adding another 28 points in the second half.
With 6:09 to play in the half, YoungBear completed a pass to Denness Keahna who made a nice run with the ball, good for a 54-yard completion, making the score 64-12 at the half. Keahna though left the game after that play with an injury. “I think he had a high ankle sprain,” said Dale. “At least we’re hoping that’s all it is. He also plays basketball for the Warriors.”
The second half was played to a 12-12 tie under a continuous clock, but the damage had been done in the first half. “I really think if we could have caught a couple of breaks early in the game things could have been different,” said Dale. “It probably would not have changed the outcome, but I do believe it might have been a little closer game. The weather really hurt us more than I had expected. We’re a passing team and the wind really impacted that. They were a great team, well-deserving of their number one ranking.”
YoungBear scored on a 25-yard run in the third quarter then returned a Lenox kickoff for a 70-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for the final score of Lenox 76, Meskwaki High School 24.
The Warriors had only 10 players dressed for the game, and after Keahna went out with the injury, that left just one sub on the sideline. “This bunch of kids played with a lot of heart all season long,” said dale. “Many times they played hurting, but kept on going. There are quite a few eighth grader kids right now. Hopefully they will be able to provide some more numbers for us next season.”
The Warriors finished the game with 169 yards passing and 43 yards rushing. Vinnie Lasley was 4-17 for 71 yards and five interceptions. YoungBear was 4-10 for 98 yards.
Lasley carried for 10 yards and YoungBear for 33.
YoungBear had 105 yards in receptions. Keahna had 55 yards. Winston Wolf caught a pass for five yards and Dayton Lasley caught one for four yards.
Meskwaki Warrior quarterback/running back Vinnie Lasley gains seven yards on this play during the second quarter of the play-off game at Lenox, Wednesday, Oct. 27. Chronicle/Charley Townsley