Broncos make splash with conference title
CERRO GORDO – It's been a long time since Cerro Gordo/DeLand-Weldon won a conference title. Fifteen years to be exact. And by the way the players botched their Gatorade shower of coach Paul Workman after the Broncos beat Arcola 26-21 onFriday night, it shows they have a little work to do in the celebration department.
"We've been the bridesmaid I don't know how many years," Workman said. "Second place, second place. But these kids knew they had a chance, and they just kept believing in themselves."
After the game, a pair of Broncos players snuck up behind Workman to douse him with Gatorade. But in the process, they hit the coach in the back of the head with the cooler, causing him to bend over and grab the back of his head in pain. But finishing the season 6-1 in the Little Okaw Valley Conference was enough to make the pain go away.
"Oh, it's great," Workman said after gathering himself. "I tell you what, I'll take this any day as long as we win. Any day. I hope they're having fun."
Things tend to be fun when you finish a season 7-2 after missing the postseason for two straight years as CG/D-W had. And with a playoff spot already secured entering the night, the Broncos put themselves in position to have an outside shot at hosting a first-round playoff game.
"It's tremendous what these kids have done," Workman said. "We went for a couple of years, and a lot of them were young and some of these kids played as freshmen and had to start varsity and it's showing up now."
The result was positive for the Broncos on Friday, but it wasn't always pretty. They gained 30 yards on the ground but still found a way to win.
While the Purple Riders shut down the Broncos' run game, sophomore quarterback Nathan Lawler completed 8 of 17 passes for 172 yards, including what turned out to be the winning touchdown to Zach Braden with 2:17 remaining.
The play was set up by a Gavin McCoy interception with CG/D-W trailing 21-20.
"They kept going to the same guys all night and I really didn't get a chance, but I knew if they kept going at him I was going to make the play," said McCoy, who also hauled in a 52-yard touchdown pass. "I saw the ball went up and it was a big opportunity and you can't miss something like that."
The game featured a number of big plays, but there were also a lot of turnovers. The teams combined to give the ball away eight times, including five by the Purple Riders.
"We made a lot of mistakes, and you can't make the mistakes we made in Week 9," Arcola coach Jarod Kiger said. "When you turn the ball over as much as we did against a team that can take advantage, you're not going to come out on the winning end."
Still, Arcola, which got 94 yards rushing from Beau Fishel, finished with seven wins, and still has an outside shot at playing on its home field next week.
"I think if anything good can come out of this is the fact it was a tight game, a good character game for us, and we'll see how the kids bounce back on Monday. I told the boys after the game we're still one of 32 teams left in 1A and that's something to be proud of."