Mater Dei senior Brendan Timmermann ground out 146 second-half yards of rushing to help the Knights clinch a 34-14 win at Civic Memorial in the first round of the Class 4A state football playoffs Saturday.
The Mater Dei Knights came expecting a mid-game shift in the weather and prepared their strategy accordingly, said head coach Jim Stiebel.
“We were watching the weather as it came in. Even a week ago we were watching it and saw a chance of rain,” he said. “Our idea was to throw early if it was somewhat dry and then ground it out.”
That’s exactly what Mater Dei did.
The Knights built an early lead on the arm of quarterback Colin Schuetz before the inclement weather blew in heavy rain. Then they let Timmermann run down the clock as the effects of mud and time compounded Civic Memorial’s effort to get back into the game.
We were watching the weather as it came in. Even a week ago we were watching it and saw a chance of rain. Our idea was to throw early if it was somewhat dry and then ground it out.
Jim Stiebel, Mater Dei head coach
Civic Memorial had early success running the ball with senior John Whitworth, who had 83 of his 98 rushing yards in the first half. But as Mater Dei widened its lead, the Eagles had to stay aggressive, even as field conditions got worse.
Quarterback Adam Hill ended up getting intercepted four times.
“We wanted to be a little more vertical against them but, unfortunately, it’s hard to throw the ball when it’s raining,” said Civic Memorial head coach Justin Winslow. “You have to fight through it and you have to give Mater Dei credit for what they were able to do.”
No. 10-seeded Mater Dei (7-3) advances to the second round against No. 2-seeded and undefeated Columbia (10-0). The season ended at 7-3 for seventh-seeded Civic Memorial.
The Eagles trailed 7-0 in the second quarter when they drove 44 yards to the Mater Dei 19. On third-and-5, Josh Haberer intercepted Hill and returned it 54 yards to the Civic Memorial 28.
70 Receiving yards by Timmemann in the first half, before the rains came
146 Rushing yards by Timmermann in the second half through the mud (172 yards total rushing)
Whitworth ran Haberer down from behind to save the touchdown, but Brady Rakers scored five plays later to widen the Knights’ lead to 14-0.
Civic Memorial held the Knights on their first possession of the second half on a four-and-out. But the Knights’ punt skipped off the wet turf and through the hands of Eagles returner David Lane. Mater Dei recovered the loose ball on the Civic Memorial nine-yard-line and Schuetz ran it in on the next play.
The point-after failed, but but the Knights held a controlling 20-0 lead.
Civic Memorial scored its only points with a 72-yard drive keyed with a 33-yard pass from Hill to Jack Walker and capped on a three-yard run by Corey Price. Mater Dei responded with 14 unanswered points.
Timmermann, who lines up mainly as a wide receiver, carried four times for 26 yards in the first half, but finished with a game-high 146 yards and a touchdown. He also caught five passes for 70 yards, all in the first half.
It was slippery and muddy and we knew the lineman had to get things done up front. They made easy for me to run down hill all day.
Brendan Timmerman, Mater Dei senior
“It’s a dynamic, special feature to have a kid like that,” Stiebel said. “You can put in the backfield and he gets it, you can put him outside and he gets it. They can’t take him away because you can do so many things with him.”
Schuetz was 10-of-19 passing for 170 yards and an interception. He also ran for two scores. Rakers had 30 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. Mater Dei had 431 total yards of offense.
For Civic Memorial, Hill finished 14-of-30 for 193 yards. Brett Lane had four catches for 102 yards. The Eagles finished with 324 yards of offense.