The Faribault Falcons football team ended 2021 with a 46-12 loss to the #2 ranked Class 4A Hutchinson Tigers in Hutchinson Friday night.

The Tigers won the toss of the coin at the start of the game and deferred.  The Falcons received the opening kick, started at the 22 yard line and proceeded to move the ball down the field.

Moving the football was never a problem for Faribault this season.  The offensive line anchored by Tim Neirby, Devin Lockerby, opened some nice holes fror Matthias Lenway to run through on the opening drive.

Only a couple of passes were mixed in on the very breezy evening but they were effective.  Faribault got down to the 15 yard line of Hutchinson before senior quarterback Hunter Nelson and Lenway rolled left, Nelson pitched the ball to Lenway.  The ball ended up on the ground and Hutchinson recovered.

It was a precursor of things to come.  Three fumbles by Faribault would all be turned into points by the Tigers on their way to ending the Falcons season in the Section 2AAAA Finals.

This Faribault team was a joy to watch.  I feel blessed to call all but one of their games this year.  We couldn't broadcast the Section Semifinal 35-28 upset of #7 rated Willmar on the road because the game was on a Saturday afternoon.

We are contractually obligated to broadcast (and love doing it) Carleton football on POWER 96 and St. Olaf football on KDHL Radio Saturday afternoons in the fall.  If the game were in the evening we would have been able to air it.

Scoring most weeks was not an issue for Faribault.  I said all year the team could play with any team in the state and I truly believe that offensively.

If you just read the score from the Hutchinson loss you would think it was a dominant performance by the home team.  Faribault moved the ball, but turnovers spelled doom.

The Falcons defense could not stop the Tigers speed.

The first touchdown was a end around run for 43 yards by running back 6'0 195 pound junior Levi Teetzel split out to the receiver position. He also ran in the two point conversion. The second touchdown was set up by a 89 yard run by Teetzel.

Hutchinson quarterback 6'3 230 pound Colin Nagle dove into the end zone from a yard out for the second score and dove in for the two point conversion.

The score was 16-6 at the half with Hutchinson getting the ball to start the second half after scoring the last TD of the first half. Senior Elijah Hammonds bolted into the end zone from 11 yards away.  Two point run attempt by Nelson was unsuccessful.

At halftime Faribault statistics showed they ran 37 plays to Hutchinson's 15.  Total yardage favored the Tigers 215 to 174.  Hutchinson threw no passes in the first half.

Nelson was 8 of 11 passing for 64 yards.  The Falcons ran the ball 26 times for 110 yards.

The Tigers had the ball 5:24 compared to Faribault's 15:17.  Hutchinson had 3 possessions in the first half.  Scored on two of them.  Ran out of time on their third.

The Falcons wanted to keep the ball in their hands.  The game plan was working but Faribault could not finish drives with a score.  They came out in a double wing formation instead of the spread offense the Tigers saw all year on the game film.  Great blocking from the line and wingbacks, senior Ian Ehlers and junior Beau Schrot led to Lenway rushing for 63 yards in the first half.

Hutchinson showed power football formations.  They threw the ball one time for 40 yards.  Just because they ran their offense from power sets didn't mean their skilled players were slow.

The game reminded me a little bit of the contest at Kasson-Mantorville during the regular season.  Faribault trailed by a couple scores going into the 4th quarter and almost won the 42-41 contest.  It was one of the best games I've had the pleasure of calling in recent years.  The back and forth scoring was incredible.  The Falcons had 4 turnovers in that game.

KoMets speedy quarterback Riley Donovan ran for two touchdowns of 70 plus yards.  Fullback Anthony Moe-Tucker had a 60 yard run in that game.  Speed kills.

The big play Faribault team was susceptible to giving up big plays themselves.

All 4 of their losses were on the road against state ranked teams where mistakes are magnified.

Final statistics showed what everyone in Hutchinson saw.  Turnovers in the second half led to more possessions for the top seed in the Section and the Tigers knew how to finish drives.

Hutchinson ended the game with 420 yards.  Faribault had 261.  In the second half Hutchinson ran 26 plays to Faribault's 24 making the total for the game 61 for the Falcons, 41 for the Tigers.

Faribault finished the game with 123 yards passing but no touchdowns which was pretty rare for this team this season.

Time of possession ended up 24:36 for the Falcons, 23:24 for Hutchinson.

If you looked at the TOP number above and the first downs in the game you would think it was a one score contest.  The Tigers finished the game with 19 first downs, Faribault had 18.

The Falcons were 9 of 13 on third down conversions, 2 of 3 on 4th down conversions while Hutchinson finished the game 5 of 6 on third down, 1 for 1 on 4th down.

Nelson was 15 of 21 for 123 yards with 5 different receivers catching passes. AJ Worrell, Johnny Frank, Jordan Klecker each had 4 receptions.  Isaac Mata two. Ian Ehlers one.

Tigers running back, junior Isaac Teetzel had 23 carries for 317 yards.  He has the lethal combination of power and speed.  He didn't need a huge hole to get significant yardage.  After breaking into the secondary he shifted into a faster gear.

Faribault's other touchdown was a one yard dive by Nelson.  The two point pass attampt failed.

Teetzel tallied three more touchdowns in the second half on runs of 5, 29 and 5 yards.  Nagle dove in from a yard out for the other score.

Defensively junior Johnny Frank and senior AJ Worrell led the Falcons with 5.5 tackles, Worrell had 4 solo, Frank 3.  Schrot, Jal Giet each had 3.5.  Giet 3 solo, Schrot 2.  Senior George Soto finished the game with 3 total tackles, 2 solo.

Faribault finished the 2021 campaign 7-4, runnerup in the Section 2AAAA Tournament.

Hutchinson's only loss this season was to #1 rated Becker on the road 21-12.  The Bulldogs scored all their touchdowns in the first half.  Two of them were passes.

Hutchinson opens State Tournament play Thursday, November 11, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. against Simley at Hopkins High School.

The Class 4A bracket is here.  In fact all the brackets are there.  There is no seeding for State Football.  The numbers you see are the Section number the team is representing.

Could you guess some of these?  Do any surprise you?

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