Broncos ready for more than quarterfinal

CERRO GORDO — As long as there are games to play, there are more goals to achieve.

The attitude of the winningest football team in the history of Cerro Gordo, and the communities in the coop — DeLand-Weldon and Bement — is happiness at the 11-0 start and this week’s state quarterfinal berth, but not total satisfaction.

“We don’t have time to smell the roses,” coach Andy Kerley said. “Getting to where we are is not the goal. It has been a lot of fun.

“We could have sat around and said it’s nice to win the conference championship, nice to go undefeated, but we have our sights set a little higher than just accomplishing that kind of stuff.”

The roadblock for the Broncos reaching the semifinals in Class 2A is Auburn, a team Kerley’s squad will play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Bement High School.

When the postseason began, five unbeaten teams were in the 2A field. After two weeks of playoff action, only Cerro Gordo/DeLand-Weldon/Bement remains in contention for a state title from that group.

“Every kid in our program, from top to bottom, has one focus: To win this week’s game and move on,” Kerley said.

While CG/D-W/B is a run-oriented team with two 1,000-yard rushers (Steve Isbell and Dee Woods), Auburn features an aerial attack built around quarterback Korben Clark, who has passed for 2,795 yards and 35 touchdowns, mostly out of the shotgun formation.

Kerley believes he has a good idea of what to expect.

“This is what they’ve done the last few years,” he said. “They could come out in something totally different, but I don’t know why they’d do that. We could spend a lot of time prepping and see something different, but at this point, teams are mostly what they will be.”

The Broncos, however, could be less predictable than handing the ball off to area rushing leader Isbell (1,882 yards) or Woods (1,012 yards).

“A lot of people think we’re pretty one-dimensional,” Kerley said. “I think Athens was betting on that (last week). It’s very nice to have the ability to cram the ball down people’s throats, but at the same time, if people take that away, we’ve got a quarterback and wideouts who are pretty good.”

Four of the first five passes attempted by quarterback Cole Blickensderfer against Athens were completed. They covered 135 yards and resulted in two touchdowns.

Five CG/D-W/B seniors are two-way starters. Besides Isbell (tailback and safety) and Woods (fullback and defensive tackle), the others are Bryson Davis (guard and defensive end), Sean Reed (guard and linebacker) and Ethan Morton (tight end and defensive end).

Auburn’s only losses in a 9-2 season were to Class 3A playoff qualifiers, 56-55 in overtime to Petersburg PORTA and 21-14 to still-unbeaten Williamsville.

“You won’t make it to the quarterfinals if you’re terrible,” Kerley said. “We know they’re a pretty good football team, and it should be a really good game.”

The line that protects Blickensderfer and opens holes for Isbell and Woods has been intact since Week 2. Including tight end Ethan Morton, there are four seniors and two sophomores in the group. The tackles are A.J. Hart and Brant Knowles. The guards are Davis and Reed. Ben Peter is the center. Peter and Knowles are the sophomores.

Peter took over for another sophomore, Jerome Schneider, who suffered a concussion in the opener.

“Ben stepped in and never looked back,” Kerley said.

Until this year, no football program involving Cerro Gordo had posted back-to-back 10-win seasons. Like the other achievements, Kerley said that’s something to be treasured later.

“When it comes to an end, we can sit back and think about what we’ve accomplished,” he said. “Right now, that’s not where our heads are. We’ve said it’s a five-step process (in the playoffs). Once you take care of one step, you move on. If you get caught looking back, you will fall over the next one.”

Another milestone is within reach. To date, the Broncos’ only state semifinalist was the 2002 team.

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