Published Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:27 am
Hershey falls to Bluehawks; Two big plays by St. Cecilia end Panthers’ stellar season

HERSHEY — Two big plays ended Hershey’s football season on Wednesday.

Hastings St. Cecilia defeated the Panthers 13-6 at Hershey in the second round of the Class C2 state football playoffs.

The first big play was the only score of the first half, coming with under 2 minutes left in the second quarter. Bluehawks running back Tyler Willnerd got a handoff on a counter play, got through a hole and cut back to the other side of the field, racing 65 yards for a touchdown. The point after was added by Grant Schmidt and St. Cecilia was up 7-0.

The second big play came after Hershey had gained momentum and seemed to be on the verge of taking the lead. On a third-and-18 from their own 20 early in the fourth quarter, Bluehawks quarterback Canon Howell rolled left looking for a receiver short. Finding his intended target covered, Howell threw deep and his receiver, Jake Kadow, wrestled the ball from two Hershey defenders and raced into the end zone for an 80-yard touchdown giving St. Cecilia a 13-6 edge.

"Yeah, we had two big plays," said St. Cecilia head coach Carl Tesmer. "We didn’t get anything else all day. Hershey is tough. They are big, strong and they played hard.

"We’re grateful we got the win, because I wasn’t sure we were going to."

Tesmer said the Bluehawks were fortunate on both scoring plays.

"On the running play, we got it off quick and had a hole," the coach said. "Tyler made a good cut and he has some speed. We ran the same play five other times and got stopped each time.

"On the pass, Jake did a great job of going and getting the ball. That’s just a great play. We needed a couple of great plays and we got them."

Howell wasn’t sure the ball was going to get where it needed to be.

"I was trying to throw a short out pattern but my receiver was covered," the quarterback said. "I looked deep and threw it as far as I could.

"I thought I put too much air into it and it was going to be short, but Jake went and got it."

The Bluehawks (8-2) will host Battle Creek in a quarterfinal game on Tuesday.

For Hershey, it was a tough loss. The Panthers defense held the Bluehawks on the opening possession of the second half and then marched 51 yards on six plays to score and cut the lead to 7-6. Josh Margritz scored from a yard out, but the extra point was blocked.

Hershey’s defense was dominating throughout the second half — until the second big play.

"We had the momentum," said Hershey head coach Ryan Smith. "You’ve got to give St. Cecilia credit, they played a heck of a game and they had two big playes that beat us.

"I’m so proud of my guys. I told them they went 9-1 and won a district championship, but they’re hurting right now."

Hastings St. Cecilia (8-2) 0 7 0 6 — 13
Hershey (9-1) 0 0 6 0 — 6

Second Quarter
HSC — Tyler Willnerd 65-yard run (Grant Schmidt kick), 1:46
Third Quarter
H — Josh Margritz 1-yard run (kick blocked), 7:00
Fourth Quarter
HSC — Canon Howell 80-yard pass to Jake Kadow (kick blocked), 10:16

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