Blog: Fullerton closes the regular season with a huge ‘W’. (10/14/22)
The Fullerton Warriors unofficially clinched a Class D-2 playoff berth with their 54-28 win over High Plains Community on Thursday. *(photo courtesy of expert Cathy Cook)
The regular season finale for the Fullerton Warriors and the High Plains Community Storm essentially came down to a “Winner advances Class D-2 playoff field/Loser says home” football game.
With the stakes as high as it gets in a high school football season, it was a resilient Fullerton team that had to battle back from a 14-0 first quarter deficit to claim a whopping 54-28 victory over the Visiting Storm.
All-State contender Brady Cook bombarded the High Plains defense with a game-high 237 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries, lifting the Warriors star above the thousand-yard rushing mark for the second consecutive season. .
Second-year quarterback Fletcher Dubas, an accurate passer and crafty runner as well, added a pair of touchdown passes to go along with his pair of rushing touchdowns, as the Warriors fended off a High Plains team that refused to ‘Stop.
This High Plains team came to play football and hit the ground running, chewing up the opening 7:24 of the first quarter with a terrific 21-play drive, culminating in a 2-yard touchdown from Wyatt Urkoski.
Fullerton thought they forced a 3 and out on that first High Plains drive, only to give up a 23-yard, 4th down and three rushes by sophomore quarterback Haden Helgoth… all 5-7, 140 books from him.
Seventeen plays later, the great Wyatt Urkoski crashed two yards out to give the Storm a 6-0 lead with 4 minutes and 4 seconds left in the first quarter.
The first time the Warriors touched the ball in the game, the clock reading 4:36, came to an abrupt halt after one play when Brady Cook had the ball taken away by Wyatt Urkoski in Fullerton’s first-ever play after the scrum.
High Plains fell to the football at Fullerton’s 26-yard line and six plays later, QB Haden Helgoth slid through a small left A-Gap opening for a 2-yard Storm touchdown.
Wyatt Urkoski knocked down stunned Warrior defenders for the double PAT, and High Plains themselves had a 14-0 lead with 1:26 left in the opening stanza.
When Fullerton finally got the football back, it was just 1:22 left in the first quarter, but then it was all Warriors from then until halftime.
Fullerton went for 55 yards in 8 plays on his 2nd possession of the game with Brady Cook doing the scoring honors from 4 yards. Fletcher Dubas found defensive tough Max Voichahoske for the 2-point conversion, and the Hautes Plaines lead was reduced to 14-8.
After forcing the Storm to a 3 and out, Fullerton again fashioned a scoring drive, this time 54 yards on 8 plays and a second Brady Cook touchdown from 2 yards. Cook ran into the 2-point PAT.
Fullerton led 16-14 with 6:39 left in the 2nd quarter and would never relinquish the lead again, even though the game was far from over.
Fullerton took advantage of a personal foul 15-yard facemask penalty against High Plains on a Brady Cook punt return.
The face mask offense, which moved the ball towards the High Plains 13-yard line, appeared to trigger Brady Cook and the Storm paid the price for the rest of the game.
Fullerton had just one point, five seconds left before halftime after penalties expired, but Fletcher Dubas’ deadly arm shooting skill, coupled with the Warriors’ offensive line top blocking, had resulted in a stunning 13-yard Dubas score to Brady Cook. pass with 0:00 displayed on the 2nd quarter clock instrument panel.
Again, Cook ran into the double PAT, and the Warriors themselves had a 24-14 lead at the break.
Fullerton came out right away in the 3rd quarter, walking 61 yards on a score with Brady Cook breaking through the Storm defense for killer runs of 15, 14 and 6 yards before Fletcher Dubas covered the final 7 yards for the score. Cook ran in his third straight 2-point conversion and Fullerton extended their lead to 32-14 just 3:18 into the third quarter.
Ball game? No.
Just when it emerged Fullerton had stuffed High Plains on their first possession of the second half, the Warriors were flagged for pass interference, a call that would keep the High Plains player alive long enough for speed dealer Mario Lesiak breaks up a 21-yard touchdown run. .
Wyatt Urkoski added the double PAT, and the Storm were 32-22 just like that.
Speaking of quick strikes, on Fullerton’s possession, disaster struck the Warriors 23-yard line when Wyatt Urkoski recovered a stray ball and raced 51 yards down Fullerton’s sideline for a touchdown.
Now the Storm trailed Fullerton just 32-28 with 2:37 left in the third.
Instead of panicking, the Warriors turned to Brady Cook and Fletcher Dubas and owned the rest of the game.
The Warriors added three more touchdowns on a 36-yard scoring pass from Fletcher Dubas to an extremely open Tyler “Sure Hands” Gochenour and a pair of canters scored by Brady Cook (27 yards) and Fletcher Dubas (24 yards).
Cook was particularly impressive in this 2nd half, crossing High Plains for 174 of his 241 total yards.
High Plains Community ends the regular season with a 3-5 record and must wait for NSAA playoff pairings to be released on Saturday to find out if their football season will continue.
Fullerton ends its 2022 regular season with a 4-4 record and an apparent Class D-2 playoff berth.
The 8-Man playoffs begin next Thursday, October 20.
Fullerton’s Brady Cook led all rushers with 237 yards on 32 carries with 4 touchdowns and has an unofficial total of 1,037 yards in 2022. Fletcher Dubas added 72 yards on 12 bins with two rushing touchdowns. Dubas also completed 4 of 5 passes for 97 yards, including a pair of goals against Brady Cook and Tyler Gochenour.
Mario Lesiak led the Hautes Plaines rushing offense with 68 yards on just 11 carries and a touchdown. Sophomore QB Haden Helgoth added 38 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown and completed 3 of 3 passes for 31 yards.
On the Warriors’ defensive end, Brady Cooks led the way with 10 tackles. Max Voichahoske was next with 9 saves (ALL solos), and second Nolan Dubas participated with 7 tackles including 6 solos.
Trey Swertzik, a good defender, had a pair of sacks in the contest, part of his 4 saves.
As a team, Fullerton had 45 tackles including 41 solo saves.
High Plains (3-5)….14…… 0…….14…….0……….28
HP-Wyatt Urkoski 2 run..PAT-Run failed (4:44) …… 6….0
HP-Haden Helgoth 2 run..PAT-Urkoski run (1:26)..14…0
F- Brady Cook 4 run..PAT-F. Pass from Dubas to Max Voichahoske (8:08) 14…8
F-Brady Cook Execution 2..PAT-Cook Execution (1:39)…………14-16
Pass F-Cook 13 by Fletcher Dubas..PAT-Cook race (0:00)…………14-24
F-Fletcher Dubaas 7 run..PAT-Cook run (8:42)…….14-32
HP-Mario Lesiak 21 run..PAT-Urkoski run (4:42)…22-32
HP-Wyatt Urkoski 51 back fumble. Failed to execute PAT (2:37) ………………28-32
F-Tyler Gochenour 36 pass by F. Dubas..PAT-Missed pass (10:22)…28-38
F-Brady Cook Race 27.. PAT-Cook Race (6:42)……..28-46
F-Fletcher Dubas 24 run..PATCarter Meyesenburg run (2:13)…………28-54
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