Football season comes to heartbreaking end

Yutan’s football season came to a heartbreaking end when the Chieftains lost 27-26 to the Wilber-Clatonia Wolverines in the first round of playoffs on Friday, Oct. 29.  

Head Coach Dan Krajicek said their game plan was to play good defense, block and tackle well and “get them into bad down and distances where we could be aggressive with blitzes.”

The Chieftain’s first possession was after recovering a fumble.  A few plays later, the Chieftains scored to put them up 7-0.

Senior Beau Heuertz runs to retrieve the football after a Wolverine fumble. The Chieftains scored a few plays later. (Maycee Hays)

The Chieftains scored two more times but missed the kick and the two-point conversion.  

The Wolverines scored late in the second quarter, which made the score 19-7 going into halftime.

Seniors Gavin Kube and Josh Jessen felt they were going to win the game heading into halftime.

“I was very confident we were going to win the game,” Jessen said.  “There was no doubt in my mind that we had won this game.”

At halftime, Krajicek said the team needed to take advantage of every opportunity.

“We just needed to settle in and keep playing hard,” Krajicek said.  

After the kickoff, however, the Wolverines scored and made the score 19-13.

The Chieftains returned with a touchdown to make the score 26-13.

Sadly, the Chieftains could not hold onto that lead, as the Wolverines scored two more times before the game ended, for a  final score of 26-27.  

Krajicek said towards the end of the game the Wolverines made plays and the Chieftains didn’t.

“It wasn’t a complicated scheme or that we didn’t give good effort or got tired,” Krajicek said.  “When there were plays to be made, we just didn’t make them and they did.”

 Krajicek said there was a momentum shift when the Wolverines returned a kickoff with a touchdown and that in a one-point loss, every play is a key play.

“Football is a game of inches and we just needed an extra inch or two,” Krajicek said.

Jessen thought the team played hard and fought till the end.

It feels like an empty space that there should be something there, but I can’t fill that emptiness

— Gavin Kube

“We left it all out there,” Jessen said.  “I am proud of all of us.”

Once the game was over, Krajicek said he was disappointed for the players and felt for the seniors.

A lot of guys put everything they had into the season, so to have it end so soon was a shock for them,” Krajicek said.  “Most kids don’t understand or appreciate that until their senior year and then it’s often too late.”

Kube said he was heartbroken after the game.  

The one thing that hit the hardest was hugging Drake (junior) one last time and telling him that it was his team now and that their work must continue,” Kube said.

Since the season has ended, Kube and Jessen are sad to realize they won’t get to put their jerseys back on.

It feels like an empty space that there should be something there, but I can’t fill that emptiness,” Kube said.