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Gehlen Edges Alta Aurelia in Playoff Opener

October 16, 2020 9:48pm

A scoreless game for over two-and-a-half quarters turned into offensive fireworks, and Le Mars Gehlen emerged with a 23-20 win at Alta Aurelia in a Class A 1st round playoff game.  

Gehlen had a chance on the opening drive of the game, but a 4th down pass was dropped at the goal line.  The Jays also threatened on their 2nd possession, but Cade Rohwer deflected a pass that was intercepted by Levi Sleezer at the Warriors four-yard-line.  Alta Aurelia's first three drives in the 1st half ended in punts, and then they got the ball with 15 seconds left in the half deep in their territory, and ran out the clock after two plays.  

Alta Aurelia punted to begin the 2nd half, and then Zach Erpelding recovered a fumble on Gehlen's opening 2nd half drive.  The Warriors offense went three-and-out however, and Gehlen took over at their own 20.  On the 3rd play, Rohwer picked off a pass to give the Warriors the ball at the Gehlen 23.  Four plays later, a Rohwer quarterback sneak gave Alta Aurelia a 6-0 lead with 3:26 to go in the 3rd quarter, but the point after was blocked.  

Gehlen answered with a six-play 80-yard touchdown, as a two-yard run by Zach Kraft, and PAT put the Jays up 7-6.  

Alta Aurelia responded with a seven-play 71-yard touchdown drive in just over 3:30.  Sleezer's six-yard run but it 12-7.  The two-point conversion try was no good.  

Gehlen came right back early in the 4th with a 12-play 65-yard drive that lasted six minutes.  Derek Von Arb's three-yard rushing touchdown, and two-point conversion made it 15-12 with 4:43 remaining.  

A 43-yard kickoff return by Preston McCoy gave Alta Aurelia the ball at the Gehlen 39.  Three plays later, Rohwer completed a sideline pass to McCoy inside the ten.  Rohwer scored on a quarterback sneak, and then a fake PAT two-point pass from holder Carson Reinert to Rohwer put the Warriors up 20-15 with 2:10 left.  

Gehlen got set up by a 70-yard kickoff return to the five-yard line.  Two plays later, Von Arb ran in a touchdown, and two-point pass made it 23-20 with 1:36 left.  The Warriors started at their 25 yard line, and got a first down after two plays, but the Gehlen picked off a pass, and proceeded to run out the clock after three plays.

Sleezer carried the ball 21 times for 127 yards.  Sleezer also led the defense with 11 tackles, followed by Ryan Jensen with ten, and Alex DeRoos had eight.  

Alta Aurelia graduates 12 seniors, as they end the season at 4-4.  

Gehlen (3-4) will play at Hartley Melvin Sanborn in a 2nd round game next Friday.