Coyote Defense Shuts Down Red Cloud, 58-to-14
Potter-Dix to Host Parkview Christian
November 2, 2023
POTTER--It was a cold and sunny afternoon Friday at Combs Field in Potter where the undefeated Coyotes hosted the 4-and-4 Red Cloud Warriors in the first round of the D6 playoffs. Red Cloud came into the matchup reeling from three straight losses to end their regular season, but came out of the gates hitting hard and shutting down the Coyote offense in the early going.
Potter-Dix started with the ball, and on third down on their initial drive, sophomore quarterback Dylan Tabor was intercepted, and the Warriors returned the ball to mid-field. But a block in the back penalty on Red Cloud brought the ball back to the Warriors' 17 yard line. Red Cloud started to drive, and a long pass by the Warriors was caught senior Zech Zapeda, who got behind the Coyote's secondary and streaked down the sideline for a touchdown. A two-point conversion gave the visitors a quick 8-to-0 lead.
But Potter-Dix settled in, and Tabor quickly hit sophomore Landon Gasseling with a long pass that Gasseling reeled in and sprinted away from the defense for a touchdown. A missed extra point conversion moved the score to 6-to-8. Potter-Dix's defense then stiffened, stopping the Red Cloud drive with a big sack by junior Logan Hottell on a fourth down and eight try, giving the Coyotes the ball back in good field position. A few plays later, senior standout Brayden Kasten broke free into the end zone for a touchdown, and the Coyotes were up 12-to-8.
Red Cloud could not move the ball on their next possession, and Potter-Dix forced a turnover on downs. But on the Coyotes' second play of the drive, a fumble gave the ball back to the Warriors. Again, the Potter-Dix defense held, forcing another turnover on downs. Red Cloud then shut down the Potter-Dix offense, forcing a punt. Red Cloud was able to pass the ball, and on a third down and long play, a long pass was thrown, but the Coyote defender clearly interfered with the receiver, causing an incompletion. A penalty was not called on the interference, prompting complaints from the Red Cloud sideline and cheering section, but a penalty for roughing the passer was called, giving Red Cloud a first down. A few plays later, sophomore Jaxon Snell caught a touchdown passes, and after a blocked extra point kick, Red Cloud had a 14-to-12 lead.
That would be the final points the Warriors would score. The Potter-Dix defense suffocated the Warriors' offense for the rest of the game, while Potter-Dix's offense started to click. After recovering the ensuing onside kick, Tabor found Kasten for a long pass down the Red Cloud three yard line, which was followed by a run up the middle by senior Jaxen Buettenback for a touchdown, moving the score to 20-to-14 in favor of Potter-Dix. The Coyotes added another score before halftime to take a 28-to-14 at the break. The second half had the Coyotes rack up another 16 points in the third quarter and then 14 more in the fourth quarter while completely shutting down the Red Cloud attack. The Coyote defense caused four turnovers and three sacks in the game, and a whopping 13 tackles for loss. The game ended with a final score of 58-to-14 for the Coyotes in a solid effort for both the offense and defense.
Tabor completed 7 of 13 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns, and Kasten rushed 17 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Buettenback rushed 7 times for 24 yards and two touchdowns. Gasseling had two receptions for 53 yards, and both catches resulted in touchdowns. Hottell led the defense with 16 total tackles.
Next up for the Coyotes is going to be a tough matchup against the 7-and-2 Parkview Christian Patriots, led by two stellar runners, Alex Rohrbaugh and Thomas Copeland, who both average over 100 yards rushing per game. The last time the teams met was in the playoffs in 2021, with Parkview Christian visiting Potter-Dix and coming away with a 70-to-34 win.