Avon loses 9B state title game to Waverly-South Shoreaverly-South Shore made the most of its first trip to the DakotaDome. On the Coyotes’ first play of their first-ever possession at a state title game, Taylor Zemlicka threw a deep pass down the middle of the field that was caught by his twin brother, Tyson, at about the Avon 40-yard line.
By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic
VERMILLION — Waverly-South Shore made the most of its first trip to the DakotaDome.
On the Coyotes’ first play of their first-ever possession at a state title game, Taylor Zemlicka threw a deep pass down the middle of the field that was caught by his twin brother, Tyson, at about the Avon 40-yard line. Tyson broke a tackle and ran the rest of the way for the 74-yard touchdown.
The Coyotes did not slow down after that as they beat the Avon Pirates 58-24 to win the Class 9B state championship Friday at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.
Taylor Zemlicka, who was named the Joe Robbie MVP after passing for 170 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 196 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, said the team had been ready to run that first play all week.
“We had that play in the entire week and we have been waiting to do it,” he said. “I was so excited that I almost missed him. He was so wide open, but everything worked out well.”
Waverly-South Shore ended the season 12-0. Avon, which ended the season with a 10-2 record, did not have an answer for Taylor, Tyson or Brent Zemlicka. The Coyotes gained 507 yards of total offense, and the only other person who recorded yardage for the Coyotes was Chris Arthur, who caught three passes for 69 yards.
Tyson finished with 101 yards receiving and two touchdowns, and Brent ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
“We knew we would be able to score points,” Taylor Zemlicka said. “We knew we had the game. It was all on us, and we got it done.”
Avon coach Gary Culver said with the athletes the Coyotes have, they are a tough team to defend.
“They have a good athlete at quarterback, and that makes a big difference,” he said. “You spread those guys out, and you are thin in the middle. We played well, scored some on them, but we just couldn’t stop them offensively.”
WSS coach Billy Kirch said the first-ever state title for his program was especially meaningful.
“They work really hard and they have earned everything they have gotten this year,” he said. “We set our goals really high as a team, and we achieved those goals. I am so happy for our guys.”
After the Coyotes’ first touchdown, Waverly-South Shore got the ball back shortly after Avon quarterback Nick Poppe and running back Wyatt Beeson fumbled the exchange on a handoff.
Arthur recovered the ball and five plays later, Taylor Zemlicka hit Tyson for a 19-yard touchdown pass with 5 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the first quarter for a 12-0 lead.
Avon responded two minutes later when Luke VanGerpen slipped past the defense and caught a 26-yard touchdown from Poppe. The two-point conversion failed and Avon trailed 12-6.
That was the closest Avon got in the game, because Tayler Zemlicka took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown and a 20-6 lead.
With 4:54 left in the second quarter, the Coyotes had their most impressive score of the game. Taylor Zemlicka went up the middle on a quarterback keeper and gained 12 yards. But while he was being taken down, he pitched the ball back to Brent Zemlicka, who broke free for a 43-yard touchdown.
“That wasn’t meant to happen, but the way it happened, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “Brent was just right at that spot with his hands out and I thought ‘why not,’ and it worked.”
Waverly-South Shore got another score with 38 seconds left in the half, and Avon drove down for a touchdown with five seconds left to make it 36-12 in favor WSS at halftime.
Both teams found the end zone in the third quarter, and once again traded scores in the fourth quarter before Taylor Zimlicka scored on a quarterback keeper with 3:20 left in the game to make it 58-24 WSS.
Jackson Powers led Avon with 105 yards rushing and Nick Poppe rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown. Poppe also threw for 69 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the touchdowns were to VanGerpen. The other was to John Wynia.
Culver said the team did not do a good job of sustaining blocks.
“We would get out and make contact with people,” he said. “But a lot of times we would have the play side sealed, but the backside guys would make plays.
“Against a good team, you can’t do that. That’s the thing about football — it’s the ultimate team sport, and if one guy doesn’t do their job, the whole team pays for it.”
Waverly-South Shore 58, Avon 24
Avon 6 6 6 6 — 24
Waverly-South Shore 20 16 8 14 — 58
WSS-Tyson Zemlicka 26 pass from Taylor Zemlicka (run failed), 9:56.
WSS-Tyson Zemlicka 18 pass from Taylor Zemlicka (Brent Zemlicka run), 5:52.
Avon-VanGerpen 26 pass from Poppe (run failed), 3:43.
WSS-Tyson Zemlicka 80 kickoff return (Taylor Zemlicka run), 3:29.
WSS-Brent Zemlicka 48 run (Arthur pass from Taylor Zemlicka), 4:54.
WSS-Taylor Zemlicka 3 run (Taylor Zemlicka run), :38.
Avon-VanGerpen 30 pass from Poppe (pass failed), :05.
WSS-Brent Zemlicka 20 run (Tyson Zemlicka pass from Taylor Zemlicka), 5:11.
Avon-Wynia 3 pass from Poppe (run failed), 2:59.
WSS-Taylor Zemlicka 44 run (Tyson Zemlicka pass from Taylor Zemlicka), 11:47.
Avon-Poppe 10 run (run failed), 9:08.
WSS-Taylor Zemlicka 5 run (pass failed), 3:20.
First downs 16 21
Rushes-yards 48-237 38-337
Passing yards 69 170
Return yards 9-185 6-127
Passes 4-8-0 6-11-0
Punts 3-37 2-27
Penalties-yards 2-9 2-18
Time of Possession 23:48 24:12
RUSHING-Avon, Powers 15-105, Poppe 10-70, Ducheneaux 13-43, Kocmich 4-11, Beeson 4-5, Tolsma 2-3; WSS, Taylor Zemlicka 21-196, Brent Zemlicka 14-145.
PASSING-Avon, Poppe 4-8-0-69; WSS, Taylor Zemlicka 6-11-0-170.
RECEIVING-Avon, VanGerpen 2-56, Beeson 1-10, Wynia 1-3; WSS, Tyson Zemlicka 3-101, Arthur 3-69.