Loudenburg’s huge game leads Howard past WiLdKats 38-34KIMBALL — Howard punched its ticket to the next round of the 9AA state playoffs Monday night with a 38-34 upset over previously unbeaten Kimball/White Lake.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
KIMBALL — Howard punched its ticket to the next round of the 9AA state playoffs Monday night with a 38-34 upset over previously unbeaten Kimball/White Lake.
“It’s a huge win and Kimball White Lake is an unbelievable team,” said Howard head coach Pat Ruml, whose team advances to play Clark/Willow Lake in the semifinals Saturday on the road.
Howard, the class’s eighth seed in the 9AA playoffs, got the victory over top-seeded Kimball/White Lake behind a sophomore’s enormous rushing attack.
Luke Loudenburg, a 5-foot-4 fullback, recorded multiple huge first downs and finished the night with 267 yards on 39 carries.
The Tigers (8-2) pounced on the WiLdKats early with an eight-play, 66-yard drive to start the game. On KWL’s first possession, Howard forced KWL quarterback Jesse Taylor to cough up the ball on the option.
Loudenburg scored the game’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run, and the Tigers got an 11-yard passing touchdown and another rushing touchdown for a 22-0 lead early in the second quarter.
“The whole first quarter was the key to their victory, and we just can’t get down by three touchdowns early like we did,” said KWL head coach Dale Taylor, whose team trailed 22-6 at halftime.
The WiLdKats, who finished their season 9-1, started to gain momentum before the half on a 27-yard TD run by senior running back Jake Kirsch.
The KWL senior, who finished with 157 yards on 20 carries, had his number called again on the first drive of the second half. He answered, reaching pay dirt on a 1-yard run which brought the WiLdKats within eight points.
KWL looked to mount a comeback, but Loudenburg had other plans as he scampered 68 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the ensuing drive that put the Tigers up 30-14.
“I just followed my blockers and they were flowing hard, so the cutback was open all night, but I was basically just running behind my two running backs and my line,” Loudenburg said.
“I saw the cutback and no one was there, and Evan (Donahue) made a big block at the end to spring me free and I just didn’t want to get caught and ran for my life.”
Loudenburg’s final touchdown sealed the win for the Tigers, who watched the WiLdKats score one last touchdown with about two minutes to play, pulling within the final four-point margin. Kimball/White Lake’s final touchdown was a 23-yard TD pass to Jake Kirsch from Jesse Taylor.
Howard’s run game gave the WiLdKats’ defense fits all night as it finished with 346 total rushing yards on 57 carries. Quarterback Landon Laible was 8-for-11 passing for 98 yards, connecting with Steve Larsen three times for 65 yards.
“They run double wing to the best ability I have ever seen it run, and we really had a hard time stopping it,” Dale Taylor said.
KWL’s Trevor Reinesch had 19 carries for 92 yards, Taylor was 11-of-16 passing for 136 yards and Kyle Peters caught three passes for 40 yards.
Howard, Kimball White Lake
H: Luke Loudenburg 1 run (PAT failed)
H: Steve Larsen 11 pass from Landon Laible (Loudenburg run)
H: Laible 3 run (Evan Donahue pass from Laible)
KWL: Jacob Kirsch 28 run (PAT failed)
KWL: Kirsch 2 run (Trevor Reinesch run)
H: Loudenburg 68 run (Loudenburg run)
KWL: Kirsch 3 run (PAT failed)
H: Andrew Schwader 4 pass from Laible (Donahue pass from Laible)
KWL: Kirsch 10 run (PAT failed)
KWL: Kirsch 29 pass from Jesse Taylor (PAT failed)