Dustin Cary (No. 20) gets a block from Eric Syverson (No. 81) on a kick return. (Photo by Rick Fromm)
Next man in - that's the philosophy for the Class 3A No. 2 Decorah football team (11-0) as the Vikings needed every player to step up to knock off Maquoketa (7-4) 40-24 Monday night in the Class 3A second round of the playoffs.
With the win, the 25th in a row, Decorah now faces an epic battle with another perennial powerhouse, Solon (10-1) Friday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. at Viking Stadium.
Both teams have their eyes on a sixth state title, with Decorah looking to earn a spot in the state semifinals for the third straight year and fourth time in the last six years (see page B-3 for box with more information on Solon's history).
Decorah has been to the quarterfinals six straight years and eight of the last 10 seasons (2004, '05, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13). They own a 42-16 playoff record.
The winner moves on to the semifinals Thursday, Nov. 14, at the UNI-Dome, against the winner of No. 6 Washington (10-1) and No. 4 Pella (11-0)
In Monday's second round match, the Vikes were battling not only Maquoketa but also themselves as they dealt with injuries to several key players, including starting fullback/linebacker Holt Johansen, who is out with a broken foot.
"We had to battle some emotions, some frustrations, things like that earlier. Some of the guys were pretty down. Holt was a big cog in the team," said Coach Bill Post. "Time heals all wounds. The guys really responded pretty well and went out and did some things that really helped a lot."
After being forced to punt on its first possession, the Vikes went on defense. Maquoketa drove 61 yards in 11 plays to score first, making it 7-0 in the first quarter.
Decorah put together a nice drive at the end of the first and into the second; however, it stalled on a missed field goal.
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